By Grahame Anderson

The office For National Statistics have recently announced the pay gap between white and ethnic minority employees stands at its smallest level for seven years, official figures show.

They revealed there was a 2.3 per cent gap in earnings between white and ethnic minority employees in England and Wales in 2019 – the smallest in eight years.

Encouraging Figures

In fact, the study had also shown most of the groups, involving those from Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Arab communities, consistently earned less than white British employees who earned on average £12.40 per hour. This could be compared with £12.11 for those in 17 ethnic minority groups on average across the same period. The biggest gaps were between Pakistani workers paid £10.55 per hour and white British receiving £12.49 per hour.

They found ethnic minority employees aged 30 and over tend to earn less than their white counterparts, while those aged 16-29 tend to earn more. The gap is larger for men than women, although men earn more than women across most ethnic groups.

Calculating The Gap

The gap is calculated as the difference between the average hourly earnings of ethnic groups and white or white British employees, as a proportion of the average hourly earnings of the latter. Here in the North East this stands at 9.5 per cent.

South Tyneside Entrepreneur Tony Sing said: “I’ve always paid the going rate to everyone regardless of ethnicity. I think the fact the gap is closing has to be good news, though there really shouldn’t be much of a gap at all.”

Nasheen Hussain executive director for business development, Home Group in Newcastle has a planned program to pro-actively support BAME customers into housing and employment opportunities and focus their efforts on not leaving communities behind.

She told us: “I am really proud to now have 12.2% colleagues from a BAME background and 64% of the overall workforce is female. Now is a pivotal time in achieving equality throughout society.”

Generally, between 2012 and 2019, Chinese, white Irish, white and Asian, and Indian ethnicities earned more on average than white British employees. A total of 57 per cent of people from the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group were employed, the lowest percentage of all ethnic groups.

Telling Survey

Meanwhile The Pharmaceutical Journal’s 2020 salary and job satisfaction survey found an 11 per cent pay gap between white pharmacists and those of a black, Asian or minority ethnic background, down from 15.8 per cent in 2019.

The pay gap equates to a difference of £5,460 per year between white and BAME pharmacists, based on an average 37.5-hour week. The median annual gross salary of white, non-locum pharmacists was £49,530 compared with £44,070 for BAME pharmacists across all sectors.

Mahendra Patel who works in Bradford, a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English Pharmacy Board and recently appointed national BAME community and pharmacy lead for the PRINCIPLE COVID-19 trial, said it was “extremely encouraging” that the hospital sector had reduced the pay gap between BAME and white pharmacists by such a large amount; however, he said there was “still a lot of work to do”.

A Clear Narrowing

The ONS cited: “Adjusting for pay determining characteristics influences the pay gaps observed, with a narrowing of pay gaps for most ethnicities.

This suggests that differences in the average characteristics of different ethnic groups was influencing the unadjusted pay gap, often overstating the difference.”

A senior analyst has said: “Overall, employees from certain ethnic groups, such as Indian and Chinese, have higher average earnings than their white British counterparts.

“However, all other ethnic groups have average wages lower than for white British employees, with employees from the Bangladeshi ethnic group having the largest pay gap.