The research from The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission is based on the results of interviews with employees from 13 “elite” law, accountancy and financial services firms, which collectively support 45,000 of the UK’s best jobs.The Commission found that bright working class job applicants are being rebuffed from the opportunities in favour of middle class candidates. Indeed, 70 per cent of job offers in 2014 went to graduates that had been educated at a fee-paying school. “This research shows that young people with working-class backgrounds are being systematically locked out of top jobs. Elite firms seem to require applicants to pass a ‘poshness test’ to gain entry,” said Alan Milburn, chair of the Commission. “Inevitably that ends up excluding youngsters who have the right sort of grades and abilities but whose parents do not have the right sort of bank balances.” He recognised some of the firms that have committed to recruiting candidates based on talent and not their upbringing, however. For example, professional services firm PwC revised its A-level criteria in May to “create a fairer and more modern system” to find talent regardless of whether a student is from a disadvantaged background or not. Slamming snooty companies, he called it a “wake up and smell the coffee moment” for them to broaden their options. Milburn continued: “In some top law firms, trainees are more than five times likely to have attended a fee-paying school than the population as a whole. They are denying themselves talent, stymying young people’s social mobility and fuelling the social divide that bedevils Britain. “It is time for the rest to follow the lead of the best and adopt policies that make access to a top job genuinely meritocratic.” Read more on education:
- Graduate employment level across England at its highest since 2007
- Apprenticeships don’t work for everyone: We need a healthy pipeline of skilled school leavers
- How important is a degree to business success?
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