"Many organisations [also] suffer from institutional racism."
The number of ethnic minority workers in insecure jobs has risen by 132% between 2011 and 2022.
Data from the Trades Union Congress (TUC) revealed that by comparison, the number of white people in insecure work rose by 9.5% over the same period.
‘Insecure work’ includes those on short-term and zero-hours contracts.
TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak called the rise “structural racism in action”.
He said: “Too many Black and ethnic minority workers are trapped in low-paid, insecure jobs with limited rights and protections, and treated like disposable labour.”
The data shows there are now almost 3.9 million people in insecure jobs in the UK. Over a fifth of those are from minority ethnic backgrounds.
The proportion of minority ethnic people in the UK who are in insecure jobs saw a significant jump – from 12.2% in 2011 to 17.8% in 2022.
Meanwhile, the proportion of white people in this work increased from 10.5% to 10.8%.
One of those is 62-year-old security guard Abraham Owusu.
He is six children and 12 grandchildren. He also financially supports his elderly parents in Ghana, including paying their medical bills.
Mr Owusu is about four years from retirement but has recently been told by his employer that his hours are being cut. He now worries that he won’t be able to continue paying for his parents’ healthcare.
He told the BBC: “They rely on me. You do everything to protect them as a son.
“At the finishing line, to be facing this problem… there is so much [pressure] on me.”
Professor Damian Grimshaw, a sociologist from King’s College London, said minority ethnic people are increasingly likely to be in insecure work because of different types of discrimination in the labour market.
He said: “One is structural, so you’re likely to see an over-representation of certain ethnic minority groups in unemployment or inactivity or exclusion from good jobs – but they might also be in a geographical location with fewer good job opportunities.
“Many organisations [also] suffer from institutional racism.
“And the third is interpersonal racism, where a person is denied a job or denied a promotion because of an interpersonal harassment or discrimination, which is against the person’s race or their ethnicity.”
Professor Grimshaw said this discrimination has meant that minority ethnic people are more likely to get stuck in the insecure work sector, despite having equal or better qualifications than their white counterparts.
But some people choose to take on such jobs because of the flexibility it allows them.
Tahir Ahmed Mahmood delivers for several app-based takeaway companies in Stevenage.
He works from 2 pm until 1 am every day.
He said: “I like the flexibility.
“As a practising Muslim, I can go to the mosque whenever I want. Say I worked at a retail shop or something, I wouldn’t have that flexibility.”
But Mr Mahmood admitted that there are “downsides”, which include the uncertainty of not knowing how much work he will get on any given day.
“Sometimes it might be busy, sometimes it may not be busy – so you never know.”
He added that he feels lucky this does not affect him as much as others.
“I’m just earning for myself at the moment, thankfully.”