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Top jobs increasingly occupied by a new ethnic minority middle class

Britain is seeing an emerging ethnic minority middle class according to new figures released today by the Civitas think tank.

In a new report: “In defence of British openness: evidence and ideas on how we might think about a multiracial country” published today Dr Richard Norrie uncovers a more positive picture of multiracial Britain in 2022 than many commentators believe:

  • Almost a quarter of British Indian and Chinese workers (24 per cent) are in the top ‘higher managerial and professional’ classes – TWICE the figure for white Brits.
  • 1 in 6 non-white British workers are in top professional roles compared to 1 in 8 white British workers.

These figures uncover big variations with some way to go for black British workers, with only  7 per cent occupying top roles.  Looking at the numbers Dr Norrie finds that the black middle class is growing. Around 8 per cent of black Caribbean men had ‘middle class’ jobs in 1970s, rising to 35 per cent today.

This ground breaking analysis has been conducted by Dr Richard Norrie, director of the Statistics and Policy Research Programme at the Civitas think tank.

Dr Norrie also uncovers falling levels of racism due to changing social attitudes:

  • In 1991, there were an estimated 82 racially motivated hate crimes per 1,000 people targeted against black people. In 2016/19 this figure dropped to 5 per 1,000.
  • For UK Asians there were an estimated 60 racially motivated hate crimes per 1,000 in the early 90s, falling to 8 per 1000 over the same time period.
  • Since 1993/4 the share of black people experiencing a racial slur has fallen from 14 per cent to 8.5 per cent by 2017/18. For British Asians, 10 per cent reported experiencing a racial slur in 1993/4 falling to 6.7 per cent in 2017/18.
  • The share of people experiencing a racially-motivated assault has halved (1 per cent of black and Asian people to roughly 0.5 per cent over the same time period).
  • According to the Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW), racially motivated hate crimes went down from 149,000 in 2010/12 to 104,000 in 2018/20.

Norrie finds that Britain compares well to other European countries. A 2016 EU survey found that 21 per cent of black people in Britain reported perceived racist harassment in the five years prior, compared to 32 per cent in France, 41 per cent in Sweden, 48 per cent in Italy and Germany, and 63 per cent in Finland. The UK had the second lowest rates of perceived racial harassment in Europe.

The same study showed three per cent of black Britons reported perceived racist violence in the last five years, compared to six per cent of black people in France, nine per cent in Germany, and 13 per cent in Austria.

Dr Norrie calls on commentators and policy makers to look more carefully at the data rather than relying on so called ‘lived experience’ as a substitute for facts and figures.

Richard Norrie, said:

‘This report is a defence of British institutions and finds Britain to be a welcome and open country. There are undoubtedly problems for Brits from an ethnic minority background but attitudes to a multiracial country have changed dramatically over several generations.

Polling and survey evidence show that majorities of all races believe this is a good place to live, are happy, and report that despite some tensions, most people tend to get along well.

‘The evidence shows both a healthy growth in the size of the minority middle-class, and not just limited to the high performing Chinese and Indian groups. At the same time, substantial numbers believe the Black Lives Matter movement to have worsened race relations.

‘We have a political elite which is content, delighted even, to spread falsehoods about how bad things are. To be seen to do so, publicly, is a badge of virtue.

‘We need to reconsider our approach to race in the UK to focus on the shared responsibility to uphold British institutions and identity and to build on our successes. We don’t need to be called “denialists” when the facts show improvements.’



  • ‘Top jobs’ is defined as Class 1 of the ONS NS-SEC occupational class scheme – ‘higher managerial and professional’. The scheme contains 8 classes.
  • ‘Middle class’ jobs are defined as the top two classes of the same scheme, adding ‘lower managerial and professional’ jobs.

Top jobs increasingly occupied by a new ethnic minority middle class

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