MSPs launch inquiry into employment opportunities for minority ethnic communities in Scotland


The lack of progress by public authorities in tackling higher levels of unemployment and in-work poverty among ethnic minority communities will be the subject of a new inquiry by a Holyrood Committee.

The Scottish Parliament’s Equalities and Human Rights (EHRi) Committee has issued a call for evidence as part of its inquiry, which will investigate what is being done in Scotland to make sure minority ethnic communities have the same employment, training and career progression opportunities as everyone else.

The EHRi Committee will focus on public authorities covered by the Public Sector Equality Duty under the Equality Act 2010, and the steps they are taking to increase the number of people they employ from minority ethnic communities.

The call for evidence seeks views on what more can be done by employers, schools, colleges and universities to ensure people from minority ethnic communities have the same access to employment and training opportunities as the majority of the population.

Committee Convener, Ruth Maguire MSP, said:

“Research shows that people from minority ethnic communities continue to face poorer outcomes than the majority of the population, with higher levels of in-work poverty and lower employment rates, even though many have performed well at school or completed university or college.

“Employment is key to addressing issues of housing, education and health inequalities, poverty and encouraging participation in public life.

“This inquiry will focus on public authorities, who have a legal obligation to remove any real or perceived barriers to employment faced by people due to their race, and investigate what measures they are taking to increase employment, training and progression opportunities for minority ethnic communities.”

As part of its inquiry, the Committee is keen to hear from individuals, community groups, and any minority ethnic employment and training projects, as well as public sector and private sector employers.

The closing date for responses to the call for views is Friday 17 April 2020.


In the last session of the Scottish Parliament the Equal Opportunities Committee conducted an inquiry into race, ethnicity and employment.

Its report, ‘Removing Barriers: race, ethnicity and employment’ was published in 2016, and its recommendations were instrumental in the development of the Scottish Government’s Race Equality Framework, which sets out how race equality should be delivered from 2016-2030.

However, in late 2019 the EHRi Committee heard evidence from representative community organisations and academics that progress had stalled.

Research shows that, despite having high levels of educational attainment, people from minority ethnic communities are twice as likely to be unemployed than white communities.

The Committee is now seeking views on what work is being undertaken to ensure minority ethnic communities have the same access to employment and training opportunities as the majority of the population.

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