Ethnic minority workers are disproportionately employed in the UK’s most precarious jobs

  • Almost half (45%) of all ethnic minority workers receive less than a week’s notice for their shiftsagainst 28% of white workers;
  • Ethnic minority shift workers are more likely to have their hours canceled unexpectedly (felt by 38% vs. 24% of white shift workers) and paid below their full rate of pay;

  • 27% of ethnic minority workers in precarious jobs were forced to increase their use of credit/debt due to short notice of work hours or canceled shifts, compared to 19% of white workers;

  • A quarter (24%) of ethnic minority workers who have experienced short shift notice periods or shift cancellations are forced to pay higher childcare costs as a resultcompared to 16% of white workers.

Ethnic minority workers are disproportionately employed in the UK’s most precarious jobs, reveals a new study from the Living Wage Foundation. The study found that almost half (45%) of all ethnic minority workers in the UK receive less than a week’s notice for their working hours, compared to 28% of white workers.

The research – based on four surveys of a total of 8,000 UK adults interviewed by Survation[1] – analyzes notice periods and shift cancellations, highlighting the extreme precariousness of jobs disproportionately held by ethnic minority workers amid a deepening cost of living crisis, often for the lowest wages in the UK.

The study found that workers from ethnic minorities are more exposed to unstable work patterns as a large majority (71%) are employed in shift work, compared to just over half (53%) of workers whites. But even among shift workers, those from ethnic minorities are more likely to face forms of insecurity such as short notice periods and canceled shifts. Ethnic minority shift workers are more likely to:

  • Being called to work with less than a week’s notice (experienced by 63% of ethnic minority shift workers, compared to 54% of white shift workers);

  • Having their shifts canceled unexpectedly (38%, compared to 24% of white shift workers);

  • Receiving less than half their regular salary when shifts are canceled (74%, compared to 66% of white shift workers).

The research found that ethnic minority workers, who disproportionately receive the lowest wages in the UK, are more significantly affected by the financial price of being in precarious forms of work – the ‘work premium’. ‘insecure “. A quarter (24%) of ethnic minority shift workers are forced to pay higher childcare costs due to unstable working hours, compared to 16% of white workers.

This “precariousness premium” is costly for workers and especially for those who are already poorly paid. Over a quarter (27%) of ethnic minority shift workers had to increase their reliance on credit/debt to make ends meet, compared to 19% of white workers.

Despite the difficult economic environment facing employers, many of them are mobilizing to fight precarious jobs. There are now 40 Living Hours employers – including Aviva, West Brom and Spareroom – who are committed to providing stable and safe Living Hours for workers.

Hours of life commits employers to providing at least 4 weeks notice for each shift, with guaranteed payment if shifts are canceled within this notice period. Living Hours employers also provide a guaranteed minimum of 16 hours of work per week (unless otherwise requested by the worker) and a contract that accurately reflects the hours worked.

Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said:

“This report shows the reality faced by a disproportionate number of ethnic minority workers in the UK – precarious work in an uncertain economy. It is shocking that almost half of all ethnic minority workers in the UK are facing runaway inflation with less than a week’s notice for their shifts, making it impossible to plan a a life and a budget.

“Low pay and precarious work are deeply linked and ethnic minority workers and families are disproportionately affected. Employers who commit to providing living hours alongside a real living wage are not only supporting their staff through a cost of living crisis, they are taking a step on a much larger path: towards racial equality. in the UK labor market. »

Matthew Sheehan, managing director of Enabled Living, a Living Hours Accredited Employer, said:

“Times are tougher than ever for most people. At Enabled Living, we want to ensure that our workers and their families can count on a reliable income that meets, at a minimum, their daily needs. We know that our commitment to a Minimum Hourly Rate and Minimum Hours Promise means our workers can budget for the future.

Michael A. Bynum