In 2019, the median hourly pay for those in the white ethnic group was £12.40 per hour, while those in ethnic minority groups were typically paid £12.11 per hour – a pay gap of 2.3 per cent.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the ethnicity pay gap is at its smallest level since 2012. It stood at 8.4% in 2014. However there are significant differences between different ethnicities.
The ethnicity pay gap is larger for men than women, and larger for those aged 30-years-old and over compared to workers aged 16 to 29-years-old. The pay gap is largest in London (23.8 per cent) and smallest in Wales (1.4 per cent).
However, the simple comparison between white and ethnic minority groups masks a wide variety of experiences among different ethnic minorities.
Across 2012 to 2019, there was a negative pay gap for those of Chinese, white Irish, white and Asian, and Indian ethnicities. This means that they earn higher median hourly pay than those of white British ethnicity.
Many other ethnic groups including Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Arab consistently earned less than those of white British ethnicity over the same time period.
Trades Union Congress (TUC) general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The difficult reality is that even today structural and individual racism still plays a role in determining pay and life chances. And coronavirus has exposed beyond any doubt the huge inequalities BME people face at work.
“BME men and women are overrepresented in undervalued, low-paid and casual jobs, with fewer rights and no sick pay. During the pandemic many of them have paid for these poor working conditions with their lives.
“Enough is enough. Ministers must take bold action to confront inequality and racism in the labour market. And the obvious first step is to introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting without delay.”
Last month TUC analysis revealed that BME people are far more likely to be in precarious work and in jobs with higher coronavirus mortality rates than white people, such as security guards, carers, nurses and drivers.