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BAME hospitality workers face ‘pay penalties’

Resolution Foundation claimed that BAME workers within the sector suffer penalties that account for age, qualifications and experience compared with white British workers

Around one in 12 workers from black, asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds who work in the hospitality sector face significant “pay penalties” compared to white British men, according to Resolution Foundation research.

The foundation claimed that BAME workers within the sector suffer penalties that account for age, qualifications, experience, and the kinds of jobs they do compared with white British workers.

BAME men reportedly face the largest pay penalty compared to white British men, with a difference of 65p per hour. Pay penalties are also notable for BAME women in comparison with white British women, which is equivalent to a lower hourly pay of 45p and 28p respectively.

The research found that while hospitality as a whole predominantly employs young people, with over a third of its workforce are aged 16 to 24 years old, this was not always the case for BAME workers.

The report explored how hospitality is one of the lowest paying sectors in the economy, with a typical hourly pay of just £8.72 and almost a quarter (23 per cent) of workers paid at or below National Living Wage.

Nye Cominetti, senior economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Around one in 12 Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic workers are employed in hospitality, and the hits to the sector during the pandemic are having a huge impact on their living standards.

“But it is not just the pandemic that is affecting the pay of BAME workers in hospitality; they also experience significant pay penalties relative to White British workers in a sector that already has very low levels of pay.”

He added: “As workers from BAME backgrounds are disproportionately likely to work in hospitality, a significant number of workers risk moving into unemployment when the furlough scheme ends in the Spring. The government should bear that in mind for the jobs support programmes it is providing.”

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