Black careers matter: Know your facts

Oct 20, 2021 | Diversity

Facts and stats to help your organisation make Black careers matter.

ISE’s Black Careers Matter report highlighted the need for change in student recruitment and development.

Here are some facts and stats to help your understanding of the challenges young Black heritage people face in society, education and work. They can also be used to drive steps for positive change within your organisation.

Black people in society

Source: UK government

  • In total Black and ethnic minority people make up around 14% of the UK population. Of these around 3% of British citizens are Black, with another 2% from Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups (UK government)
  • About 10% of MPs and about 6% of members of the House of Lords are from an ethnic minority background.
  • Black and ethnic minority people make up around 7% of court judges. With only around 1% of court judges coming from Black heritage backgrounds.
  • People from Black heritage backgrounds are less likely to be homeowners than those from White backgrounds. E.g. around 68% of White British households own their home, while around 40% of Black Caribbean and 20% of Black African households do.

Source: Equality & Human Rights Commission

  • A Black man is still five times more likely to be stopped and searched by police than a White man in England and Wales.


Black student experiences of education

Source: Ethnicity, race and inequality in the UK (2020)

  • Black Caribbean students are almost three times as likely to be excluded from school as White British students.
  • 4% of Black Caribbean students gain at least three A grades at A level. For Black African students this is 6% and for White British students this is 11%.
  • Black students are more likely to get a place to study at a higher education institution than White students by around 15%.
  • 68% of Black African students who attend a Russell Group University get a 2:1 or First-class degree. For Black Caribbean students this is 72% and for White British students 83%.

Source: UK government

  • 36% of White British students who enter higher education go to a ‘high tariff’ institution while only 18% of Black students do.


Black workers

Source: UK government

  • Black workers earn on average £1 an hour less than White British workers.
  • Only 5% of Black workers are in management and senior roles in comparison to 11% of White British workers.

Source: Are employers in Britain discriminating against ethnic minorities? (2019)

  • On average across the whole population, applicants for jobs from ethnic minorities have to send 60% more applications to receive the same number of call backs as White candidates.


What is institutional racism?

The term ‘institutional racism’ is used to describe situations where organisations’ policies, culture and structures discriminate or disadvantage depending on ethnicity. The concept is important because it recognises that you do not need an individual to be actively racist, or even unconsciously biased, for racism to operate.

For example, an organisation where interns are all recruited through existing (White) employees’ social networks could be institutionally racist. If the approach to recruitment leads to ethnic, and social, reproduction, there will be a racist outcome without any individual employee needing to be a racist. (Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, 2021)

What is critical race theory?

This is a body of academic writing and research which explores how race structures people’s experience and life chances. It has its origins in the USA and in the legal field but has been influential in many countries and fields. It argues that racial inequalities are the result of historic and systemic factors rather than just individuals acting in a racist way. It is interested in intersectionality and in how racial inequality is intertwined with other forms of inequality. It is not an organised party or movement nor is there a single ‘critical race theory’ position on any one issue. (Critical race theory: What it is and what it isn’t, 2021)

What are microaggressions?

The term ‘microaggression’ is used to describe brief and often unintended and unthinking comments, criticisms or behaviours that call attention to individuals’ membership of a particular group and make them feel uncomfortable.

Microaggressions can take numerous forms including jokes, questions, requests or omissions. While the individual perpetrating the microagression may not be seeking to be aggressive, the systematic and cumulative effect of multiple microagresssions may be harmful and disruptive to the individual who is the subject of them.

Read more about the sources of these facts as well as more data and cases studies in ISE’s Black Careers Matter

Read more Black Careers Matter content

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