Black, Asian and minority-ethnic (BAME) people face significant employment and pay penalties despite a rise in the number gaining degrees, a study says.
The Resolution Foundation think-tank found that the proportion of working-age people with degrees had increased across all ethnic groups from 12% in 1996-99 to 30% in 2014-17.
The analysis showed that despite strong employment growth in recent years, Pakistani and Bangladeshi graduates are around 12% less likely to be in work than white British graduates, and that Indian and Black Caribbean graduates have a jobs gap of around 5%.
The think-tank said there was a long way to go before progress on educational attainment fully fed through to the labour market, with graduates of all BAME groups facing a jobs gap compared with white people with degrees.
Kathleen Henehan, policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “The rising share of people going to university is a well-known British success story of recent decades.
“The progress made by black and ethnic minority groups is astounding, with the share of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi graduates trebling in less than 20 years.
“But despite this success, graduates from a black and ethnic minority background still face significant employment and pay penalties in the workforce.
“These labour market disadvantages are a big living standards concern and mean we risk failing to make the most of the investment made in their education.”