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When it comes to occupation, just how diverse is the UK’s workforce? New analysis reveals the most and least ethnically diverse professions.

New analysis of Office for National Statistics labour market data has revealed the most and least ethnically diverse professions in the UK. Taxi drivers, chefs and pharmacists are UK’s most ethnically diverse occupations. According to the analysis from think tank Policy Exchange, the most ethnically diverse occupation is taxi drivers, where 53.8 per cent of all workers are minority ethnic. It’s followed by dental practitioners (50.4 per cent), packers and bottlers (55.2 per cent) and medical practitioners (43.7 per cent). Chefs, security guards, pharmacists and legal professionals (excluding solicitors and barristers) also feature in the top 10 list.

The least diverse profession in the UK is farming, where only 1.4 per cent of workers have a minority ethnic background. Other occupations in the bottom 10 include police officers at sergeant rank and below (5.8 per cent), engineering technicians (5.9 per cent) and purchasing managers and directors (6.9 per cent).

Human resources and industrial relations officers rank 61st on the list of 202 professions; 20.7 per cent of workers have a minority ethnic background. Nearly four-fifths (79.3 per cent) of HR and IR professionals are white British, and 13.2 per cent are non-white. The largest minority group within the HR profession is ‘other white’ (6.6 per cent).

Dr Richard Norrie, research fellow at Policy Exchange, said: “What is most interesting about the most diverse occupations is that they vary dramatically in the level of skill they require. The first are jobs that do not require much skill and require little by way of social capital to enter, other than awareness of where opportunities lie. The second type are highly skilled professions that require formal academic training.”

The report attributes some of the differences in ethnic make-up to the nature and location of occupations. Nearly one quarter (23.5 per cent) of taxi drives are ethnically Pakistani, while 46.2 per cent are white British. “Casual observation would suggest that in Westminster most black cab drives are white Londoners while Uber drivers tend to be non-white immigrants,” said the report. “The former is a protected occupation with strict accreditation procedures, while the latter is open and entrepreneurial, making it attractive to immigrants with restricted levels of social capital.

“It’s no surprise that chefs rank highly in terms of diversity, as do restaurant managers/owners. Indeed, 5.4 per cent of chefs are Indian, 5.1 per cent are Bangladeshi and 3 per cent are Chinese.”

The least ethnically diverse professions, the report claimed, tend to be focused on the countryside or outdoors: “Since so much of immigration has been to the cities, these results are far from surprising; 2011 census data shows that 92.6 per cent of immigrants living in England and Wales live in urban settings.”

Recent research from Robert Walters, supported by the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion, found that although 85 per cent of employers considered building a diverse workforce to be a priority, nearly half (46 per cent) had no strategies in place to achieve it.

Respondents to the survey were split on who should take responsibility for diversity; more than half (56 per cent) said it was the job of senior managers, while 35 per cent said HR should take the lead.

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