Why Are BAME Millennials At Greater Risk Of Job Uncertainty And How Can Brands Help?
A recent survey of 21,000 21-36 year old workers found that 86% of them said that job security is a high priority when looking for employment. Despite those findings, millennials from a BAME background are 47% more likely to be on a zero-hours contract, meaning that they are working in less secure jobs. What are the reasons behind this, and how can companies do more to help?
Not A Level Playing Field
Statistically, it can take BAME applicants far longer to find work as well. A study from NatCen Social Research found that applicants with white-sounding names were 74% more likely to receive positive feedback from employers compared to those with a BAME name.
And a study from the UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Carnegie UK Trust and Operation Black Vote revealed that BAME millennials are 5% more likely to be doing shift work and 4% less likely to have a permanent contract. It also showed that British millennials from a black African background were 8% less likely to be in stable work compared to their white counterparts. BAME millennials were also 10% more likely to have a second job, compared to their white peers.
This can have a knock-on effect on the mental health of BAME millennials, as secondary jobs are more likely to be of a lower quality. In fact, a study by The Health Foundation described low-quality jobs as having “poor wellbeing, security, satisfaction, individual autonomy or pay.” So even when BAME millennials are in a more stable job, they are more likely to also have a lower-paid job, which puts them at a higher mental health risk.
Lord Simon Woolley from Operation Black Vote described how this situation created a cycle of mental health issues for BAME millennials. “The race penalty in the workspace is further exacerbated by mental health issues. It’s a double hit if you’re coming from the BAME community.”
Steps To Take
The McGregor-Smith Review examined the issues around race in the workplace to examine why BAME employees had poorer work outcomes. They noted that focusing too much on university education could result in lower rates of BAME talent acquisition. This is especially true for black talent. Recent data shows that only 4% of Russell Group university undergraduates were black. At Oxford, it was 3.2% and at Cambridge the figure fared slightly better at 4.6%.
Elaine Bremner, Chief HR and Talent Officer at MediaCom UK explained how using other criteria other than education may be more effective for companies who’re looking to hire more diverse staff. “We don’t look at CVs for entry-level applicants at MediaCom and don’t require that people have a degree. Instead, we rely on an open application that encourages people to share their personal experiences, passions and capabilities that paint a more accurate, genuine representation of a person’s motivation and potential,” she said.
Companies can also help by offering paid internships. As BAME millennials are more likely to be working zero-hours contracts, their unpredictable hours mean it could be hard for them to commit to unpaid work on a regular basis. The ISE Annual Recruitment Survey 2018 found that employers rehired an average of 52% of their interns, so not having the financial freedom to complete internships could lead to less job security for BAME millennials in the long-term.
The McGregor-Smith Review described a case study where the Taylor Bennett Foundation provided a ten-week intensive training course in partnership with high-level PR agencies and businesses. Trainees are paid at the level of minimum wage and also have their travel expenses covered. The aim was to increase the amount of BAME talent within the PR industry, in which only 8% of employees are non-white. As of 2016, 167 trainees had completed the program, and now it is time for brands in general to take time to either provide paid internships to BAME applicants or seek partnerships with charities that can remunerate interns.
Creating social content based around such a program is a great way for a brand to show that they are seeking to create a more diverse team, and even opens them up to new talent.
If your company has diversity within your work teams, ensuring that it’s visible on your website and social pages can be important. Fola Adebayo works as a trainee for FT, and she spoke about how she was put off by applying to companies that appeared to have a small number of BAME employees.
“As someone who is aspiring to get into the PR profession, it is disheartening to see that I can’t see anyone like myself in these firms. I do not wish to stick out. I just want to have the opportunity to work with a variety of people of all ages and backgrounds,” she said.
Make sure that your marketing content lets people know about your brand values and commitment to increasing diversity. Celebrate the diversity that you already have in your team and be mindful of letting prospective candidates know that your workplace is a welcoming place for BAME employees.