Young people are missing out on top jobs because their social backgrounds aren’t being taken into account, according to a report by MPs.
An All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) report has detailed how unpaid internships could give an unfair advantage to those who can afford it, while those struggling to pay bills are left behind.
The study, named the Class Ceiling, urges employers to have a fairer and more transparent recruitment process that gives context to an applicants achievements.
Assessing school backgrounds and encouraging an increase in less London-centric recruitment are also being urged by the report, as the current situation is leading to many young people working below the national minimum wage, causing a barrier for those from poorer backgrounds.
Justine Greening MP is the first Conservative Education Secretary to receive a comprehensive school education. Growing up in Rotherham in the 1980s, she believes that social mobility has affected her entire life.
“I think opportunity is the glue that can hold our country together,” said Ms Greening, who believes she missed out on her first London job because of her social status.
During a final job interview with a bank firm, she was told that she “didn’t have enough of the ‘world experience’ that they wanted, and pointed out that I hadn’t had a gap year travelling. That was correct. At the time I was too embarrassed to admit that I simply couldn’t afford one.”
Last year an inquiry revealed that the UK’s top jobs are still disproportionately populated by the alumni of public schools and Russell group universities, including over half of Britain’s top journalists, high court judges and Oscar winning actors.
“If the current government is serious about improving access to top jobs for those from less advantaged homes, they need to take a much more strategic approach,” said Justin Madders MP, chair of the APPG on social mobility, adding “this means linking the work of schools, universities and employers to build a real business case and practical plan for improving social mobility.”