Ethno-religious identities and persisting penalties in the UK labor market

Nabil Khattab*, Ron Johnston

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Most studies of minority group penalties in the UK labor market have focused on groups classified by their self-assessed ethnicity only, without taking into account major divisions within such groups, notably by religion. Using a large sample taken from the quarterly Labor Force Survey, this paper analyze levels of both unemployment and obtaining posts within the salariat for fourteen separate ethno-religious groups. Estimates of both gross and net penalties are derived, the latter taking the individuals' human capital resources into account. They show that most non-White groups face an employment penalty, but Muslim groups - both men and women - experienced the greatest penalties. These penalties are exacerbated when searching for any job turns into searching for a managerial or a professional job suggesting that inequality is preserved through mechanisms of color and cultural racism which intensifies as minority workers seek jobs at the more lucrative end of the labor market - which, if persistent, could have long-term implications for the cohesion of the UK's multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-502
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Science Journal
Issue number4
Early online date11 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015

Structured keywords

  • SPAIS Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship


  • Ethno-religious identities
  • Labor market inequalities
  • UK
  • Unemployment

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