Social mobility is the movement of individuals, families, households, or other categories within or between social strata in a society. It is the opportunity for those from underprivileged backgrounds to break the boundary of their social class. Social mobility has been an increasing issue in recent years, as many are struggling to break the barriers of their background and thrive in their education and career.
This issue is prevalent within the UK today and requires radical reform in order to ensure that real change is made to ensure social mobility is achieved as many individuals from underprivileged backgrounds are not being given the opportunity to excel in all aspects of their life. A recent report by the government’s Social Mobility Commission warned that without urgent reform, the economic divisions that currently exist in the UK will continue to widen. Due to the lack of social mobility within the UK, there has been an increasing divide between income groups, different generations and geographical locations.
The report highlighted many issues including how, in recent years, there has only been a slight improvement in graduate employment for those from underprivileged backgrounds, despite the fact that increased access to university has been seen as a success in many social mobility policies. This shows the obvious divide between social mobility policies and the outcomes that they create.
In order to bridge this gap, many organisations now offer graduate programmes that give new graduates the chance to excel at the start of their career and set them up for a successful role within the industry.
Here are some of our members who offer graduate programmes:
Bank of England – The Graduate programme offers participants the chance to develop a career at the heart of the UK economy. However, it’s not all about economics. The programme is open to applicants from all disciplines, and had a real focus on personal development.
Cambridge Assessment – They currently run Graduate programmes in CIE and IT and a programme has been designed for Cambridge English. These schemes develop graduates quickly so that they can work independently, and the programme design encourages original thinking, allowing graduates to make valuable and novel contributions.
Great Western Railway – The Graduate scheme provides hands-on experience working on real-life projects with the world’s leading transport company. Here you’ll get stuck on at the heart of the action from day one, learning on the job and developing the skills you need to become a future leader.
Lendlease - The Lendlease Graduate Programme runs for two years and allows participants to work in a variety of roles, functions and regions within Construction, Consulting (Project Management), Development businesses and Finance. It enables graduates to work with experienced professionals in a culture that nurtures them to develop and grow.
Ofcom - Ofcom is at the cutting edge of modern communication – from broadcasting on TV and radio, to telecoms and how we communicate with each other, to new wireless technologies. Their graduates play a key role in all of these areas. Join them, and you will get involved from the start.
To find out more about these employers, please click on their names.
Social Mobility in Early Years Education
The lack of social mobility often stems from as early as childhood and school, where those from disadvantaged backgrounds are often found to struggle in their progression, compared to their peers from more advantaged backgrounds. The report also highlighted that there is a divide in the progression between rich and poor children aged five, this is a divide that is only now beginning to shrink, despite the billions of pounds that have been invested into early years education. It has also been suggested that this gap will still take around 40 years to close.
Social Mobility in Young Adulthood
The issue does not stop in early years education, social mobility is also an issue that is carried into young adulthood where it is said that it is likely to take around 120 years for disadvantaged teenagers to achieve the same grades as their more advantaged counterparts. This means that many struggle to break the cycle of poverty when they are unable to advance in ways that those from more advantaged backgrounds do; therefore limiting their future career prospects.
Social Mobility in Higher Education
A report by the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), has found that young disadvantaged individuals dropping out of university after their first year, has reached a five-year high. In addition to this, research has found that those from disadvantaged and ethnic minority backgrounds are less likely to get a good degree grade, compared to their advantaged peers – according to the university admissions watchdog. In order to ensure that this is not the case for future students, it is important that higher education facilities have the support in place for students who may need additional support in order to ensure that they have the chance to thrive in the same way that their more advantaged counterparts are able to.
In order to combat the lack of social mobility within universities, they are being asked to improve their application processes, in order to ensure that they are opening the doors for all potential students. By making these changes and encouraging social mobility within the education sector, this will begin the process of increasing social mobility in all walks of life and ensuring that everyone is able to reach their full potential by having the opportunity to excel and succeed, not just in their career but also in their everyday lives.
Social Mobility after Education
Those from disadvantaged backgrounds can also struggle to secure high-paying roles, as these roles are commonly ‘reserved’ for the ‘elite and therefore people outside of this social class tend to accept lower wages for similar roles. This then means that these individuals tend to not be able to improve their living conditions due to the lack of increased wages and social mobility.
Despite the seemingly slow progress that is being made regarding social mobility, there are however individual policies that have shown to be successful as there are now record levels of employment, improving standards in schools, improvements to early years services and more working-class people going to university. These are all positive outcomes as a result of increased social mobility and the need to ensure that those from disadvantaged backgrounds are given the best chance to succeed.
To see which of our members were ranked in the Social Mobility Employer Index Top 50 2017, please click here.
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