White people in Northamptonshire are more likely to be employed than black and minority ethnic people, analysis shows.
Race equality think tank the Runnymede Trust says the ethnic employment gap is a “systemic” problem.
Just 70% of black, Asian, and minority-ethnic (BAME) residents in Northamptonshire are in work, according to the Office for National Statistics.
For white people, the employment rate is 79%.
Across Britain, 65% of BAME adults are employed, compared with 77% of white adults.
The employment rate is the percentage of 16 to 64-year-olds that are in full or part time work.
The latest figures show there are an estimated 39,700 BAME people and 412,700 white people in Northamptonshire in that age range.
Of those, 27,700 BAME adults are in work, compared with 325,600 white adults.
The unemployment rate measures people aged 16 and over without a job, who have been actively seeking work within the last month and can start work within two weeks.
In Northamptonshire, 4.1% of BAME jobseekers aged over 16 are unemployed. For white people, the rate is 4.3%.
Runnymede Trust director Dr Omar Khan said part of the gap is down to hiring discrimination.
A recent Oxford University report showed that BAME jobseekers with the same qualifications as their white counterparts have to send 60% more applications to get an interview.
Dr Khan said: “Over the past two decades many ethnic minority groups have reduced the educational attainment gap, but these better qualifications are still not translating in the labour market.
“If you can’t or don’t progress any of your ethnic minority staff, you’re a bad manager. That should be reflected in your appraisal, pay and responsibilities.
“We need to consider tougher measures to tackle discrimination directly, and hold out for greater penalties for employers who fail to improve.”
Employment minister Alok Sharma said more needs to be done to level the playing field.
Mr Sharma said: “I am pleased that under this government the ethnic minority employment rate is at a record high. But there is much more to do.
“Where there were differences in representation, participation or achievement across ethnic minorities, we have been challenged to explain them - or change them.
“I have announced the roll-out of a nationwide mentoring initiative, designed to help jobseekers build their networks and get the work they want.”