The racial discrimination that exists in private sector recruitment has been described as "shocking" by the general secretary of the Trades Union Congress.
Brendan Barber made his comments in the wake of research commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) which found that for every nine applications sent by a white applicant, an equally good candidate with an ethnic minority name had to send 16 in order to get a positive response.
Applications were sent to private, public and voluntary sector employers of varying sizes and it was found that public sector organisations did not discriminate at this initial stage of recruitment.
Mr Barber stated: "This DWP exercise illustrates the shocking level of discrimination that black and Asian candidates come up against on a regular basis when applying for jobs in the private sector."
He added that employers need to get better at recruiting employees based on their ability, experience and their suitability, rather than their race.