PP and ethnic integration
No, this is not about the current migrant issue, dominant though that is in all of our minds. (It will, incidentally, be very relevant to see how well the competences of the Syrians are recognised, given that many of them are very well qualified, but that’s another story.)
It’s about changes in the attitudes of Pakistani and Bangladeshi women towards employment. The Economist reports some very interesting changes in their participation rates. In the early part of the noughties, 31% of Pakistani women and just 21% of Bangladeshi women were in the labour market. Since 2008, these proportions have risen quite sharply – in the case of Bangladeshi women by 13%. This at a time when the numbers of Bangladeshi men in work have fallen.
There’s obviously a major generation factor here. Younger generations of women will have been to school in the UK, and gained qualifications that their mothers did not have, as well as native English competence. The result is a rise in the incomes of these groups’ household incomes – in contrast to all other households. Other ethnic minority groups saw their household earning drop, especially black African and black Caribbean.
The question for the future is whether this trajectory will be continued. In other words, in addition to actually gaining employment, will these Bangladeshi and Pakistani women see their earnings match their qualifications, so that they can enjoy a career with some upward progression? There will be another longish lag before we know the answer, but it’s worth asking the question now.