The figures published by the Office for National Statistics show that there are 166,000 more people from BME backgrounds in work compared to this time last year, bringing the total number to a record high of more than 3 million. The employment rate has also hit a new record high of 62.5%, a 2.3 percentage point rise over the last year.
Thanks to a range of government schemes designed to help people into jobs, more than 50,000 opportunities have already been taken up by people from BME backgrounds. These include schemes that offer work experience, employer-led placements, or help starting up a new business – however Ministers and advisers recognise that a gap still remains compared with the rest of the population, which is why Jobcentres will continue to deliver tailored support specific to local communities.
Unemployment has fallen across all ethnic groups, including people from a Black, African and Caribbean background as well as those from a Chinese, Pakistani and Mixed backgrounds.
The Prime Minister said: “I warmly welcome these latest figures showing record employment rates for people of black and minority ethnic heritage. And along with reductions in the number of young people not in training, education or employment, this shows our long-term economic plan is delivering for people of all backgrounds and ages.
“Over 160,000 more black and minority ethnic people are in work today compared to this time last year, with more than 50,000 opportunities being taken up on government-backed employment and training schemes designed to help people into jobs. Alongside this our enterprise scheme has helped budding entrepreneurs from black and minority ethnic backgrounds set up over 6,000 new businesses – this is not just great news for those individuals and their families, but it’s great for businesses and the economy too.
“That is why this government is committed to go further still and make sure barriers are lifted and opportunities are opened to people of all backgrounds. This is how we will truly ensure we have a brighter and more secure economic future.”
Minister for Employment Esther McVey said: “We’ve seen record numbers of people share in the improving jobs market as the economy continues to grow – and this includes people from all backgrounds and all regions across the country.
“More and more people are having their lives transformed by moving into work and having the security of a regular wage. From government schemes that give people the skills and experience they need, through to help setting up in business, we’re working hard to ensure that everyone is a step closer to the job that could change their life.
“We know there is more to do to ensure people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds have the same opportunities as everyone else, which is why we will continue to follow our long-term economic plan to help businesses to create the jobs that people need.
“We also know how important role models are – especially for young jobseekers or budding entrepreneurs, and we’d encourage more successful business leaders to step forward and work with us to pass on their knowledge and experience to the next generation.”