Social mobility is an issue all over the world, in some countries it is more apparent than others, however, no country is unaffected. In this essay, I will analyze what obstacles the lower- and middle-class population are facing trying to move up the social ladder, specifically in Britain. In addition to that, I will be discussing some of the solutions to overcoming these obstacles.
So, what is social mobility exactly? Social mobility is the process of moving up the social ladders, it is primarily connected to income. When looking at social mobility, the focus is often how easy it is for the children of a lower-class family to become either middle- or upper-class workers.
In Britain, social mobility, or the lack of it, is actually a huge issue. It hasn’t always been a huge issue, in the 20th century, every new generation earned more than the previous generation at the start of their careers. That is, unfortunately, no longer the case today, with only 1 out of 8 children from lower-class families becoming high earners later in their life .
It is not only in the job department that the people who are lower on the social ladder suffer, they are behind the people higher on the ladder regarding education as well. By taking a look at GSCE grades around the nation, about 10-15% more children, who did not receive free school meals, got 5 A’s or more . With the numbers hovering around the 15-20% of children who did not receive free school meals getting those grades, as opposed to around 5-10% for the children who did receive free school meals.
Higher education is also a point where social mobility is severely lacking in Britain. Between 2010 and 2014 only 0,1% of the free school meal children who completed secondary education studied at either Oxford University or Cambridge .
Both Oxford and Cambridge are very exclusive universities and are not only some of the best in Britain, but some of the best universities in the world, therefore it might not seem that shocking. So, looking at just those who went on to receive a higher education, the number is just under 25% for the free school meal children, whereas it is almost 40% for those children who did not receive free school meals.
That number is more shocking since it shows that children from poorer families are about 15% less likely to receive a higher education than those from richer families.