Half of Black Students Feel Government is Discriminatory Employer

Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Elevation Networks with a foreword by Rt Hon Simon Hughes MP

Race to the Top: the Experiences of Black Students in Higher Education is the first in a series of reports looking at the experiences of particular groups from non-traditional backgrounds within Higher Education and the challenges faced by that group in gaining employment. This first report focuses on the experiences of Black students from African & Caribbean backgrounds and is the result of a nationwide consultation, which took place over a two year period and engaged over 2500 students.

Research conducted by the Institute for Public Policy Research in 2010 found that ethnic minorities have been disproportionately affected by the recent rise in unemployment. This pattern can also be observed within the graduate market. Indeed, Black graduates are three times more likely to be unemployed than white graduates within six months of graduation and, should they find employment, Black graduates are expected to earn up to 9% less for the same work within five years.

This report, produced to investigate further the causes of these disturbing statistics and to

understand the perceptions of Black undergraduates finds:

47 per cent. of Black undergraduates believe the Government discriminates in its graduate recruitment.

- Black students felt they would face discrimination when attempting to pursue a career in the legal services, media, fashion and financial services industries.

- 60% of Black Students do not expect to be in work within 6 months of graduating.

- 68% of Black students expect to be earning less than £25,000 in their first graduate role.

- Black students generally believe there is not currently enough mentoring or support given to them to assist them in their choice of where to go to university.

- Black students generally believe that their parents do not currently receive sufficient guidance from careers counsellors in state schools to understand the choices available to their children.

- There is a sizeable discrepancy between the expectations of Black students and the outcomes they face following graduation.


1. The Government should develop a coherent strategy to tackle inequality of opportunity within higher education and graduate employment.

2. By way of increasing transparency, we propose that the Government should add a diversity element to any new State-produced University league table that is published.

3. In such official information, data should be included to show the academic and employment outcomes of students within institutions broken down into different ethnic and gender categories.

4. We call on the Government to support the expansion of an industry-wide and corporate funded diversity mentoring scheme, such as the scheme already piloted by Elevation through organisations including financial services firms Deloitte LLP, Ernst & Young, and banking firm HSBC.

5. We propose that State schools should deliver independent careers advice to students and involve parents in the process of selecting universities and choosing careers paths. Whilst the key person that holds ultimate responsibility for any student's employment and academic outcomes will always be the student, we believe that in order to give everyone the best chance possible there must be an even playing field.

Download the full paper below.