‘Professionals from working class backgrounds are paid around £6,800 less than their peers who had affluent upbringings, new research unveiling a “class pay gap” in Britain has found.
The study, by the Social Mobility Commission, found that access to Britain’s professions, including journalism, law, medicine and academia remained dominated by those from advantaged backgrounds.
But the most striking find was the 17 per cent pay gap between those from working class backgrounds and those from more privileged upbringings. Alan Milburn, the Government’s social mobility tsar, said it was evidence that Britain remains a “deeply elitist” society.’ - Independent
‘The research, carried out by academics from the London School of Economics and University College London, analysed data from the UK labour force survey - a snapshot of employment in the UK with more than 90,000 respondents.
The researchers examined the average earnings of people in professional jobs from different backgrounds and found those who had come from a poorer family lost out by about £6,800 a year.
It found the gap was partly caused by differences in educational background, along with the tendency of middle-class professionals to work in bigger firms and move to London for work.
But even when professionals had the same educational attainment, role and experience, those from poorer families were paid an average of £2,242 less, the Social Mobility Commission's study found.
The report suggested professionals from poorer backgrounds might be less likely to ask for pay rises and could exclude themselves from promotion for fear of not "fitting in".
They are also less likely to have access to the same networks and opportunities as their more privileged colleagues.’ - BBC News
‘The research found more glaring class pay gaps in some professions than others. While it was fairly modest in nursing, teaching, social work and life sciences, in medicine the difference in average annual pay was just over £10,200, and in finance it was more than £13,700.
Parallel analysis of the labour force data showed medicine was also the profession least accessible in the first place to people from working class backgrounds, with these comprising just 6% of the total, compared with 33% of the population. Next worst was journalism, with 12% of people coming from poorer backgrounds.
Overall, the study found, people from a professional or managerial family were 2.5 times more likely to end up in a similar job themselves than people from less advantaged backgrounds.
Milburn said it “cannot be right” that people from working class backgrounds were paid so much less.
“Many professional firms are doing excellent work to open their doors to people from all backgrounds, but this research suggests much more needs to be done to ensure that Britain is a place where everyone has an equal chance of success regardless of where they have come from,” he said.
Labour’s shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, said the report showed “clear evidence that even when working class people do well in life, they are still penalised in their pay packets”. She added: “This kind of pay gap underlines the endemic elitism that remains in our society – we are far from being a Britain that works for all.”
Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, said the report “exposes the gaping class divide at the heart of our society that we all already knew existed”.
He added: “It’s time for the government to not just say the right thing but do the right thing by investing in education and ensuring every person is given a chance to succeed.”
A government spokesman said: “Work is the best route out of poverty and education is key to making sure everyone can go as far as their talents will take them. We are looking at ways to deliver more good school places in more parts of the country, investing in improving careers education, transforming the quality of further and technical education and opening up access to our world-class higher education system.
“Through our industrial strategy we are determined to close the wealth gap between regions, improve living standards and create jobs so everyone can share the benefits of our economic success.” ‘ - The Guardian