Document Abstract

The state of social mobility in the UK

Examines social mobility in the UK drawing on previous intergenerational research. Explains that social mobility provides better opportunities for each generation and makes access to opportunities fairer, regardless of parental background. Notes that social mobility is usually measured through income or social class, and can be measured in absolute or relative terms. Looks at how social mobility has changed in the UK. Highlights the rapid increase in from the 1940s to 1970s. Reveals that since the 1980s, improvements in social class mobility have stalled for men, and earlier gains in income mobility appear to have reversed. Compares social mobility rates in the UK with those on other countries. Finds that: the UK ranks near the bottom for income mobility across OECD nations; and Canada, Australia and the Nordic countries are consistently ranked as the fairest nations. Looks at some of the drivers of social mobility (economic opportunities, individual capabilities development and skills, and access to education and jobs) and how these drivers have evolved. Examines some of the trends shaping the future of work such as disruptive technologies (big data, analytics, connectivity hardware and software developments), new ways of working, demographic shifts, globalisation and greater gender equality. Proposes interventions that may help to improve social mobility, including increasing job opportunities through continued economic growth and developing high growth sectors, and early interventions to improve educational attainment gaps.


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Owens, Toby et al, Boston Consulting Group
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Sutton Trust

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