ETHNIC minorities face the greatest barriers in the workplace despite doing better at school, a damning study revealed yesterday.
The Social Mobility Commission report found that people from Asian Muslim communities are more likely to be unemployed and less likely to enter the professions.
This is despite white boys from disadvantaged backgrounds performing badly throughout the education system, with the worst results at both primary and secondary level.
While children from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds are more likely to do well at school and go to university, they are less likely to go on to find employment or land secure jobs in managerial or professional occupations.
The study identified a “broken social mobility promise” affecting young people from Asian Muslim communities, particularly women.
Pakistani and Bangladeshi women earn less than their counterparts from other ethnic minority groups, according to the report.
Social Mobility Commission chairman and former Labour cabinet minister Alan Milburn said the report showed that Britain is still a long way from having “a level playing field of opportunity” for all, regardless of gender, ethnicity or social background.
He said: “It is striking that many of the groups that are doing best at school or improving their results the most are losing out when it comes to jobs and opportunities later in life.
“It is deeply concerning that poor white British boys are doing so badly in education, from the early years through to university.
“Yet they are less likely to be unemployed and face social immobility than young people from black and Asian communities, Asian women especially.
“Action is needed across the education system and labour market to better understand barriers to success.”
The report calls for schools, universities and employers to provide “targeted support” to Muslim women to ensure they can progress in the workplace and achieve their career ambitions.
It also says that universities should put in place initiatives to address the problems faced by poor white British students and worrying drop-out and low achievement rates among black students.
A Department for Education spokesman said: “Everyone should have the opportunity to go as far as their talents will take them, no matter what their background.
“We are working to make more good school places available in more parts of the country, so that every child can have access to an education that will unlock their potential.”