Ethnic minorities 'suffer higher unemployment despite good school performance'

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People from black and Asian Muslim communities are more likely to be unemployed and less likely to enter the professions despite doing better at school, new research has found.

A report commissioned by the Social Mobility Commission found that white boys from disadvantaged backgrounds perform badly throughout the education system, with the worst results at both primary and secondary level.

However, when it comes to the workplace, the report said ethnic minority groups experience higher rates of unemployment than their white counterparts.

It identified what it described as a "broken social mobility promise" for young people from Asian Muslim communities, particularly women.

While children from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds are more likely to do well at school and go to university, they are less likely to go on to find employment or get secure jobs in managerial or professional occupations.

The report also found that Pakistani and Bangladeshi women earn less than their counterparts from other ethnic minority groups.

Social Mobility Commission chairman former Labour cabinet minister Alan Milburn said the report showed Britain is still a long way from having "a level playing field of opportunity" for all, regardless of gender, ethnicity or social background.

"The British social mobility promise is that hard work will be rewarded. This research suggests that promise is being broken for too many people in our society," he said.

"It is striking that many of the groups that are doing best at school or improving their results the most are losing out when it comes to jobs and opportunities later in life.

"It is deeply concerning that poor white British boys are doing so badly in education, from the early years through to university. Yet they are less likely to be unemployed and face social immobility than young people from black and Asian communities, Asian women especially.

"Action is needed across the education system and labour market to better understand barriers to success. Renewed action is needed by Government, educators and employers to dismantle them."

The reports calls for schools, universities and employers to provide "targeted support" for Muslim women to ensure they can progress in the workplace and achieve their career ambitions.

At the same time, it says that schools need to involve and work with parents - particularly those from the groups which are least likely to engage in their children's education, such as poor white communities and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) groups.

It calls on universities to put in place initiatives to address the issues faced by poor white British students and worrying drop-out and low achievement rates amongst black students.