Ethnic minority children find social mobility more difficult than white children despite doing better in school.
This claim was made by the Social Mobility Commission (SMC), a publicly-sponsored advisory body, following the publication of their latest research on the subject. The SMC said there were “stark differences” in the opportunities available to different ethnic groups in the UK regardless of how well they did in school.
White boys from low income homes tend to do poorly throughout their education and are the worst performing group at both primary and secondary school. Of those boys, only one in ten will go to university.
By contrast three in ten black Caribbean children will enter higher education, as will half of children from a Bangladeshi background and as many as seven out of every ten from low income Chinese homes.
However white Britons of both genders have a lower unemployment rate than ethnic minority groups despite not doing as well in school, according to the SMC report, and are significantly more likely to find “secure jobs in managerial or professional occupations”.
The researchers suggested that such factors as “cultural, family and individual expectations, geography and direct/indirect discrimination” could explain the gap between educational achievement and workplace success in some ethnic groups.
Former MP Alan Milburn is Chair of the SMC. He said it was “striking” that the groups who do better in school “are losing out when it comes to jobs and opportunities later in life”. Although he was concerned at how badly poor white boys do during their education, the Commission’s research indicates that “they are less likely to be unemployed and face social immobility than young people from black and Asian communities”. This was especially true of Asian women he explained.
“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.”
Read the SMC’s report here.