Is unemployment of ethnic minorities related to occupational segregation?

Publication type

Conference Paper


Simonetta Longhi

Publication date


Ethnic minorities are more likely to be unemployed than white British people, but they also concentrate in certain, often low-pay/low-quality, occupations. Lack of longitudinal research means we do not know to what extent ethnic minority unemployment is related to occupational segregation rather than other factors. This paper aims to measure to what extent the higher unemployment of ethnic minorities is related to their overrepresentation in occupations characterised by less stable jobs where everybody, including white British people, are more likely to lose their job. Using panel data from Understanding Society, the paper compares the probability for ethnic minorities compared to white British of transitioning from paid employment into unemployment. It interrogates whether transitions into unemployment are equally likely for all ethnic groups after controlling for individual characteristics and characteristics of the previous job. It asks: does occupation (occupational segregation) explain such differences? It is expected that holding a temporary job will be a major determinant of transition into unemployment. In this case, is there a difference across ethnic groups in their probability of holding a temporary job? And are there ethnic differences in the probability to transition into unemployment if we analyse temporary and permanent jobs separately?


Unemployment and Ethnic Groups