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At the end of 2020, the Resolution Foundation conducted a data review on behalf of Be Inclusive Hospitality (formerly BAME in Hospitality) to examine the experiences of operators within the hospitality sector from different ethnic backgrounds. For further context, on the eve of COVID-19, 17% of hospitality workers identifying as Black, Asian or another ethnic minority.

Here at BIH, we are committed to using data to assist us in tackling racial inequality and we believe that you simply ‘manage what you measure’, which is why we chose to explore the view via the ‘rear-view mirror’ prior to focusing on the road ahead.

Recognising that minority ethnic groups are not a monolith, the information analysed has been disaggregated by ethnicity wherever it has been possible to do so. Below I share some of the key findings from the report produced:

Ethnicity Pay Gap

Ethnic Minority workers have a higher median age, yet earn less than their white British counterparts

The report found that men and women from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are paid less than their white counterparts. Black, Asian and minority ethnic men were paid 65p an hour less than white British men on average, whilst Black, Asian and minority ethnic women were also underpaid compared with White British women however the pay gap was considerably smaller.

White British hospitality workers, despite earning more, are on average younger (with a median age of 28) than ethnic minority groups of hospitality workers (with median ages from 32 to 45).


Indian hospitality workers are the largest degree holders, with over a quarter of Bangladeshi workers holding no qualifications at all.

Indian hospitality workers are the group with the highest proportion of degree holders at 41%. Bangladeshi workers are the largest group to hold no qualifications at all, at 26%. In contrast, 14% of White British workers hold a degree, yet 20% still occupy ‘high-paying’ positions versus only 12% for Black workers even though 20% are degree holders.

Self-employment, Seniority & Job Satisfaction.

Black and mixed-raced hospitality workers are least likely to be in high-paid roles or be self-employed despite being more likely to have a degree than their White British counterparts.

Workers that identify as Black (African, Caribbean, British) and workers of mixed/multiple ethnicities are, compared to other ethnic groups within hospitality, most unlikely to be self-employed, highly unlikely to be working in the higher paid occupations, and most likely to have been with their employer for a short period of time, and in seek of another job.

In Summary

  • Ethnicity Pay Gap is an important indicator that should be examined.
  • The level of education or age does not always directly correlate with the job attained or pay received.
  • There is a clear barrier in becoming upwardly mobile to varying degrees for different ethnic groups.
  • Staff retention is a clear measure and symptomatic of the problem at hand.

What Now?

Work with us to create fair, diverse and inclusive sector. From Consultancy, Brand Partnerships, Fundraising and Donations, you can all play a part. For more information, click here.

To download the Resolution Foundation report created for Be Inclusive Hospitality click here.


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