Ethnic minority workers are disproportionately impacted by the cost-of-living crisis, according to a new report from networking group People Like Us.

It reveals that workers from ethnic minority backgrounds are almost twice as likely to have had a promotion or pay rise they were promised taken away compared with people from White backgrounds (19% vs 10%).

Also, over a third (35%) of ethnic minority professionals are set to rack up extra debt by taking out loans or spending on credit cards, with nearly a third (31%) borrowing money from someone they know.

Startingly, over a third (34%) of workers from ethnic minority backgrounds are now no longer able to afford to pay their bills, rent or mortgage each month, contrasting with 28 percent of the general population.

While spiralling inflation is impacting nearly all worker demographics, the report reveals those from ethnic minority backgrounds are feeling it more in many ways – from struggling with bills through to a worsened work-life balance.


The ethnicity pay gap

People Like Us revealed in January that workers from Black, Asian, Mixed Race and Minority Ethnic backgrounds are paid 84 percent of what their White counterparts earn.

It also found that two thirds (67%) of racially diverse working professionals polled said they have had reason to believe that a white colleague doing the same job as them was on a higher salary.

Out of those from racially diverse backgrounds who struggled to ask for a salary increase or promotion, over a quarter (26%) left their industry because they weren’t given a pay rise they felt they deserved, while half (50%) said not getting a salary increase or promotion has caused them to suffer with anxiety or depression.


Job security concerns 

Job security feels more at risk for those from a minority background too, with less than a third feeling their employment will be unaffected by rising prices (29%) compared to nearly half of those from a White background (46%).

This has led to 25 percent of workers from a minority background thinking that pay gap issues within their company will get worse. There is therefore a very real possibility of thousands of Black, Asian, Mixed Race and minority ethnic professionals entering more debt due to inequitable pay practices during the cost-of-living crisis.


Work-life balance

Workwise, nearly three quarters of those surveyed feel that rising costs are affecting their work life in some way (73%), rising to 85 percent of workers from minority ethnic backgrounds. Over a quarter (28%) of workers say it is affecting their performance at work, and workers from a minority background are more likely to feel this effect (36%).

More than one-in-five employees from a minority background (22%) feel like they may have to change their job as they are unable to cover their living costs, this compares to 16 percent when you consider the broader population. Around a fifth of employees are also considering taking a second job to cover mounting costs (21%).


Sheeraz Gulsher, Co-Founder, People Like Us said: “It’s heartbreaking to see the devastating effect the cost of living crisis is having on people from all over the UK. But it isn’t affecting everyone equally. In these tough moments, it is really important not to let equity fall off the priority list, particularly when this data shows that this crisis is affecting those from minority backgrounds significantly more.

“In this difficult moment, when you consider that people from diverse backgrounds are already getting paid less than their White counterparts, we think the People Like Us mission to create fair, equitable pay and transparency across the UK workforce is more crucial than ever.”








Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.