Media Release: Minority ethnic, low paid workers face more barriers to promotion, says study

NEW research published today (25 September) by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that promotion possibilities for low-paid workers are generally limited, and that people from minority ethnic communities especially face multiple problems in getting promoted.

Begins a spokesperson: “Their difficulties include unequal access to opportunities for development; unclear information about training opportunities; and stereotyping.

“This is resulting in persistent in-work poverty, and a disproportionate number of ethnic minority people in low-paid work.”

‘In-work poverty, ethnicity and workplace cultures’ found that while many organisations support career progression, informal workplace practices trap some people in low-paid work.

These practices undermine equal opportunities policies and disproportionately affect ethnic minorities.

The report’s lead authors, Maria Hudson and Gina Netto, call for better understanding of the role of workplace cultures in routes out of poverty for people of all ethnicities.

Maria Hudson said: “Managers who provide regular, constructive feedback and offer encouragement to employees to develop tend to be the exception rather than the norm.

“We found many examples of unsupportive management that was holding back staff from career progression. ‘’

Gina Netto added: “Opportunities to progress to better paid jobs and to develop should be equally accessible to all employees It is important that organisations take steps to ensure that all levels of their workforce reflect the multi-ethnic nature of UK society.”

The study identifies a number of ways that employers can address the issues, including:

  • Taking a strategic approach towards developing the skills of low-paid workers.
  • Including staff-development opportunities in managers’ objectives.
  • Monitoring not only recruitment but also development activity and progression.

The report also highlights the need for DWP, Work Programme providers and Jobcentre Plus to focus on the issues of low skills and low pay if they are to successfully tackle in work poverty and make Universal Credit work.

Case studies who contributed to this report from NHS Inverness and St Barts Trust are available for journalists to contact.


Notes to editors

  1. For case study contact details please contact Charlotte Morris on 01904 615950.
  2. The full report and findings: In-work poverty, ethnicity and workplace cultures by Maria Hudson and Gina Netto, is available to download for free from

3.    JRF is an endowed foundation funding a UK-wide research and development programme. JRHT is a registered housing association and provider of care services, with over 2,500 homes in York and north-east England. The two have a commitment to reduce poverty substantially. JRF and JRHT work together to help achieve social justice for people and places in poverty by:

  • searching out the underlying causes of poverty and disadvantage, and identify solutions – through research and learning from experience.
  • demonstrating solutions – developing and running services, managing land and buildings, and supporting innovation.
  • influencing positive and lasting change – publishing and promoting evidence, and bringing people together to share ideas.

4.    JRF is on Twitter. Keep up to date with news and comments at

5.    The Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust are completely separate from the other two Trusts set up by Joseph Rowntree in 1904; the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT) and the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd (JRRT). Further information about each organisation can be found at

MEDIA RELEASE posted by Pagoda PR. You too can post media releases (aka press releases) on For more information, email here.

Contact: Pagoda Public Relations