WORKING class and even middle class young people face being "systemically locked out of top jobs" because elite company bosses admit they favour applicants with posh accents.
Research has found that leading law, financial and accountancy firms in the City of London apply a "poshness test" before handing out top jobs.
And a staggering 70 per cent of job offers went to graduates educated at selective state or fee-paying schools.
Jobseekers who have enjoyed experiences such as travelling, had attended 'Russell Group' universities and spoke without accents also stand a better chance.
The figures were obtained by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commissions, which monitors whether young people from poorer backgrounds have the same opportunities in the workplace.
The independent body collected data and interviewed bosses at 13 companies responsible for 45,000 of the best jobs in Britain.
Commission chairman Alan Milburn, a Cabinet minister in Tony Blair’s Labour government, claimed bosses were "fuelling the social divide that bedevils Britain."
He said: "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. 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.
"Some of our country’s leading firms are making a big commitment to recruit the brightest and best, regardless of background. They should be applauded.
"But for the rest this is a wake up and smell the coffee moment. In some top law firms, trainees are more than five times as 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."
And this is backed up by a recent ITV/Comres survey which found that 28 per cent of Brits feel discriminated against the way they speak.
While eight in 10 employers admitted making discriminating decisions based on regional accents, according to research from law firm Peninsula.
This comes after former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy said British companies should break the "glass ceiling" by finding the right person for the job rather than focusing on whether they attended the "right university".
He added: "When I was growing up, I was taught that if you worked hard enough, you could achieve anything you wanted, whatever you wanted, whatever advantages other people might have.
"It is an attitude that took me from a Liverpool council estate to being chief executive for 14 years."
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