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Indians are high-earners in UK: Study

Workers belonging to the Indian ethnic group in Britain tend to have higher average earnings than their white British counterparts, a new study based on official statistics revealed on Tuesday.

The UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) found in its ‘Ethnicity Pay Gaps in Great Britain: 2018′ analysis that while on average ethnic minorities earn 3.8 per cent less than white ethnic groups, Indians and Chinese tend to buck the trend by having higher average earnings.

Workers in the Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic groups tend to have the lowest average pay compared to their white British counterparts.

“Overall, employees from certain ethnic groups such as Indian and Chinese, have higher average earnings than their white British counterparts,” said Hugh Stickland, senior ONS analyst.

“However, all other ethnic groups have average wages lower than for white British employees, with employees from the Bangladeshi ethnic group having the largest pay gap. However, once characteristics such as education and occupation are taken into account, the pay gap between white British and most other ethnic groups becomes narrower, though significant differences still remain,” he said.

The data, based on median gross hourly earnings between 2012 and 2018, shows that the Chinese ethnicity group is the highest paid, receiving 15.75 pounds an hour in 2018, followed by the Indian ethic group, which earns 13.47 pounds an hour.
“The average employees from the Chinese and Indian ethnic groups have consistently earned more than the average White British employee since 2012. For the Indian ethnic group, the gap has stayed relatively consistent since 2012 and in 2018 stood at negative 12 per cent,” the ONS analysis notes.

The category defined as Mixed/Multiple ethnicity group, came in third with 12.33 pounds hourly pay rate, with the median pay of the White British group found to be 12.03 pounds. The Bangladeshi ethnic group had the lowest median hourly pay of 9.60 pounds with the second-lowest paid group being of Pakistani origin at 10 pounds an hour.

The Indian ethnic group also registered a high employment rate, of 75.9 per cent, comparing favourably to the highest employment rate registered for the White Other category at 81.7 per cent. The two ethnic groups with the lowest employment rates are Pakistani and Bangladeshi, at 58.2 per cent and 54.9 per cent respectively.

A large proportion of those from the Indian ethnic group work in professional occupations (33 per cent), which accounts for the higher average earnings.

The gender pay gap was also most pronounced among the ethnic groups with higher median gross hourly earnings, with Indian men earning 23.3 per cent more per hour than Indian women and Chinese men on average earning 19.1 per cent more per hour than Chinese women.

In contrast, women in the Bangladeshi ethnic group were found to earn more than their male counterparts – with a 10.5 per cent gap.

The ONS also found that where someone is born can have an influence on how much they are paid. Non-UK born employees from the Indian ethnic group are estimated to earn 4 per cent less than their UK-born White British counterparts.

“By comparing those who were born in the UK and those who were not, it may give us an idea of what sort of effect having a UK education and the higher likelihood of speaking English as a first language may have on those from an ethnic minority background,” the ONS said.

The first-of-its-kind ethnicity pay gap analysis is expected to inform future UK government policies around monitoring of pay gaps between different segments of British society.