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Ethnic differences in the labour market: a comparison of the samples of anonymized records and Labour Force Survey

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Abstract:

The public use sample from the 1991 UK census makes it possible to conduct individual level analyses of ethnic minorities' educational and occupational attainments. Unfortunately, however, the census asked only about higher level qualifications obtained after reaching 18 years of age. A comparison with the Labour Force Surveys (LFSs) shows that the census gives in some respects a misleading impression of qualifications among the first-generation members of ethnic minorities: the LFS data show that ethnic minorities tend to be more polarized in their qualifications than the British-born whites, with relatively large proportions at the two extremes, either with degrees or with no qualifications at all. It follows that the census's treatment of qualifications may tend to exaggerate the scale of disadvantage of ethnic minorities in the labour market, and particularly in access to the salariat where qualifications play a particularly large role in recruitment. Regression analyses of sample of anonymized records and LFS data confirm these expectations although they indicate that the results of the census are not seriously misleading as regards the pattern of ethnic disadvantages in the competition to avoid unemployment. The LFS data also confirm earlier findings that the ethnic penalties are in general of similar magnitude among the second generation to those among the first generation, despite the substantial equalization of educational experience that has taken place. There is some evidence that disadvantages in access to the salariat may have been reduced, but this is counterbalanced by the evidence that disadvantages in the avoidance of unemployment may have deteriorated.

Keywords: Census; Ethnicity; Logistic regression; Occupational attainment; Qualifications; Unemployment

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Oxford, UK 2: University College Dublin, Republic of Ireland 3: Nuffield College, Oxford, UK

Publication date: January 1, 2000

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