Persistent ethnic inequalities in the labour market play a major part in the high poverty rates among some ethnic minority groups. The differing experiences between ethnic groups in labour market participation and experiences when in work lead to questions about equality of opportunity.

There is now a substantial evidence base which points not only to the existence, but the persistence over time, of ethnic inequalities in employment. Labour market inequalities between ethnic and gender groups, as well as between geographical areas, is a policy issue for government. However, inequalities in labour market participation have persisted for minority groups, and there are barriers to progression up the career ladder for some people in ethnic minority groups who are in work. In addition to ethnic inequalities in entry into the labour market, inequalities in the labour market can arise for those in work, including in occupation types (e.g. skills levels), contract types and stability, wage differentials, hours worked and levels of self- and part-time employment. 

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