This is compared to the number of young, white people who are unemployed which has marginally increased from 10.1 per cent to 12.4 per cent.

According to a new report by the Public Accounts Committee, unemployment among young, Black people has almost doubled throughout 2020.

During the last quarter of 2019, this figure stood at around a quarter (24.5 per cent) but a year later, this was shown to have risen to 41.6 per cent.

In the same period, unemployment among young, white people rose by just 2 per cent – increasing from 10.1 per cent to 12.4 per cent.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) admitted they were unable to explain this “shocking inequality” although the detrimental effect of the pandemic on marginalised groups has been well-explored.

The TUC previously reported that the unemployment rate among BME workers has risen at triple the speed of the unemployment rate among their white counterparts.

Seeking to explain why this may be, the report states that the DWP has relatively few programmes targeted directly at people from minority ethnic communities, and instead expects work coaches and providers to tailor their national programmes to individuals.

In addition, the research also expressed that the DWP have shortcomings in collecting relevant data linked to diversity, prohibiting the body from evaluating the effectiveness of the schemes it puts into place.

Another major criticism of the DWP’s approach includes a lack of flexibility regarding employment support programmes.

In particular, the report identifies that the Kickstart Scheme was announced in July 2020 when unemployment was expected to peak at 10 per cent in Q2 2020 and furlough was initially forecast to end in October 2020.

However, as deadlines have now been moved, the Department states it will fund 250,000 Kickstart job-starts by the end of December 2021, closing it to new applicants at the point unemployment is expected to peak after the close of the furlough scheme.

As such, the recommendations made to the DWP include:

  • Monitoring the emerging impact of the pandemic and adapting its programmes quickly as the full impact on different groups becomes clearer
  • Explaining how its contingency plans can continue to provide employment support as well as avoid the scarring effect of unemployment
  • Obtaining good-quality diversity data and ensuring that its evaluations of all of its employment support programmes include an assessment of the impact for different groups, whether employment support schemes are reaching and working for everyone, and ensuring that no groups are left behind.
  • Undertaking and publishing a full evaluation by the end of 2022 of how well its work coaches provide employment support and how consistently they apply their judgement.

*This information has been obtained by the Committee of Public Accounts’ report ‘DWP Employment Support: Fifteenth Report of Session 2021-2022’, published in September 2021.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.