Research finds ethnic minority low paid workers face more barriers to promotion

September 26, 2013

Heriot-Watt academic Gina Netto is one of the lead authors of a report published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which shows that promotion possibilities for low paid workers are generally limited, and that ethnic minorities especially face multiple problems in getting promoted. Their difficulties include unequal access to opportunities for development; unclear information about training opportunities; and stereotyping. This is resulting in persistent in-work poverty, and a disproportionate number of ethnic minorities in low-paid work.

'In-work poverty, and workplace cultures' found that while many organisations support career progression, informal workplace practices trap some people in low-paid work. These practices undermine equal opportunities policies and disproportionately affect ethnic minorities.

The role of workplace cultures

The report's lead authors, Gina Netto, Reader in Heriot-Watt's School of the Built Environment, and independent consultant Maria Hudson, call for better understanding of the role of workplace cultures in routes out of poverty for people of all ethnicities.

Opportunities to progress to better paid jobs and to develop should be equally accessible to all employees.

Gina Netto said, "Opportunities to progress to better paid and to develop should be equally accessible to all employees. It is important that organisations take steps to ensure that all levels of their reflect the multi-ethnic nature of UK society."

Maria Hudson said, "Managers who provide regular, constructive feedback and offer to employees to develop tend to be the exception rather than the norm. We found many examples of unsupportive management that was holding back staff from career progression. ''

How to address the issues

The study identifies a number of ways that employers can address the issues, including:

  • Taking a strategic approach towards developing the skills of low-paid workers.
  • Including staff-development opportunities in managers' objectives.
  • Monitoring not only recruitment but also development activity and progression.

The report also highlights the need for DWP, Work Programme providers and Jobcentre Plus to focus on the issues of low skills and low pay if they are to successfully tackle in work and make Universal Credit work.

Explore further: Racial differences exist in reports of workplace drug testing

Related Stories

Racial differences exist in reports of workplace drug testing

September 26, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Drug testing occurs more often in workplaces where racial and ethnic minorities are employed, according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine. The study appears online in the Early View of the American ...

Get some balance - make flexible work policies work

January 21, 2009

( -- Most organisations' flexible work policies sit idly in policy documents, employees too uncomfortable to implement them because they might be frowned upon by employers or co-workers for deviating from the ...

Recommended for you

Important ancient papyrus seized from looters in Israel

October 27, 2016

(—Eitan Klein, a representative of the Israel Antiquities Authority, has announced that an important papyrus document dated to 2,700 years ago has been seized from a group of Palestinian looters who reportedly ...

Experts uncover hidden layers of Jesus' tomb site

October 27, 2016

In the innermost chamber of the site said to be the tomb of Jesus, a restoration team has peeled away a marble layer for the first time in centuries in an effort to reach what it believes is the original rock surface where ...

Ancient parrot fossil found in Siberia

October 26, 2016

(—A Russian paleontologist has discovered a parrot fossil uncovered in Siberia several years ago—the first evidence of parrots living in Asia. In his paper published in Biology Letters, Nikita Zelenkov describes ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.