Working class professionals earn around 20 per cent less than professionals from middle class backgrounds, a report by the Social Mobility Commission has found. Unless the Government starts to tackle the problem, a lack of equality in society will continue to exist from childhood to the workplace.
The State of the Nation report claimed that those from better-off backgrounds have 80 per cent more likelihood of getting a professional job than those from a less affluent family. On average, middle class professionals will also earn 24 per cent more annually than professionals from a working class background.
The report found that social mobility in the UK has stagnated over the last four years. In 2018, 60 per cent of people from middle class backgrounds were in professional jobs in comparison to 34 per cent from working class families. This was a slight increase from 59 per cent and 32 per cent in 2014.
Other findings highlighted that those from professional backgrounds found it easier to move area for their career than individuals from a working class background, with a staggering 70 per cent more likelihood of moving. The most popular place to move to is London and those from a more affluent family are 75 per cent more likely to move there than those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Although growing numbers of young people from working class backgrounds were gaining university places, the statistics showed that more of them were dropping out and not completing their course. They also encountered more difficulty finding employment after graduation.
Employers could help this social and economic inequality by understanding the communities they work in and reconsidering their recruitment policies. By providing opportunities for all employees so that they can progress during their work life and careers, career development will be available to everyone.
Findings indicated that 27 per cent of individuals from non-professional backgrounds earned less than the voluntary living wage, compared to 17 per cent of individuals from professional backgrounds. The National Living Wage was increased in April, however there are concerns amongst unions that this increase is not enough to tackle in-work poverty.
The report urged the Government to make the living wage available to every employee, including contracted workers. It also called for more investment in education for those aged 16 to 19 years, with extra funding for those from disadvantaged families.
It was also recommended that free childcare was made available to more disadvantaged households. Currently, families where a parent works 16 hours weekly receive 30 hours of free childcare. The report asks for this to be reduced to eight hours a week, thereby allowing more parents to go out to work.
Working together, employers and the Government can create change and ensure better futures for those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds in this country.
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