IS THE cost-of-living crisis making it harder for working-class staff to make progress in their chosen job?
A new report from the Social Mobility Foundation shows an annual 25 per cent fall in employers publicising their schemes to help promote employees from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
Another study, from Samsung, reveals one in four working-class adults believe they are overlooked for jobs due to their societal status.
Official figures show working-class people face a class pay gap of £6,718 per year.
But half the nation consider themselves working-class, so companies urgently need to concentrate on hiring and developing lower- income staff to fill the skills gap.
As a result, the SMF is urging firms to “double down” on their commitment to social mobility as more people are hit by soaring bills, tax rises and Government spending cuts.
Leading campaigner Joe Seddon, founder of social mobility mentorship platform zerogravity.co.uk, believes schools need to support working-class talent before youngsters enter the workplace.
The site helps working-class students build a network to help find work experience and top jobs.
He said: “There is a widely accepted but rarely spoken-about truth that who you know often matters more than what you know.
“With nearly half of state-educated pupils unable to name a single Russell Group university compared to just one in six students at private schools, we’re faced with a situation where both universities and businesses are missing out on the next generation of talent.”
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Here are Joe’s tips for social mobility success
- Your background doesn’t have to hold you back – it can be your unfair advantage. Get a head start in building your personal brand by leveraging your story of defying the odds to inspire others.
- Your network is your net worth. Invest at least ten per cent of your time expanding and deepening it – whether that’s reaching out on LinkedIn, attending events, or grabbing coffee with a work contact.
- When you are starting out in your career, consistency is key. The easiest way to accumulate responsibility when you are inexperienced is to be dependable and trustworthy, rather than an unreliable maverick who displays occasional flashes of brilliance.
- Perfection is the enemy of the good. If you want to make progress, get used to failing fast and being relentlessly focused on the end result rather than obsessing about the route taken to get there.
- Invest in mentorship. The best mentors are found in the strangest of places, with the true value stemming from the strength of the relationship rather than the identity of the mentor. Make sure you meet your mentor regularly and be willing to initially put more in than you take out.
- Growth comes from outside your comfort zone. When entering an alien environment, imposter syndrome is inevitable. However, it’s within your power to reinterpret imposter syndrome as the price you pay for progress rather than the force that holds you back.
Bounce back to work
BEING made redundant can hit working- class staff hardest, as they typically have fewer savings and less experience in networking to find a new role.
Here Dr Lynda Folan, inset, from inspireddevelopment.net shares her tips to bounce back from losing your job.
- Consciously shift out of unconscious victim mode: The easiest way to do this is to focus on the positives in the situation. This might be as simple as feeling grateful for things like the time off work to spend with the family, your health, or a redundancy payment.
- Develop a daily routine: Build a discipline that ensures you get up at a regular time and do activities that support your mental, physical and emotional health and stop your destructive thinking.
- Become your own therapist: When you notice emotions arising related to the redundancy, take time to write down your thoughts and feelings. This has a double impact; it allows you to externalise your thinking and observe your thoughts. It will stop the thoughts from swirling unconsciously in your mind.
- Take action: Immediately get started updating your CV, attend networking events where you can talk to people about opportunities, and talk to recruitment agencies.
- Get professional support if you need it: If you are experiencing other pressures or challenges which are causing overload, it is very important to seek professional help.
Gold for Browne
LAW FIRM Browne Jacobson has been named the UK’s top employer for social mobility for the second consecutive year.
The company was praised for actively hiring new trainees from non-selective state schools and encouraging applications from pupils on free school meals.
Almost a million employees entered the annual Social Mobility Employer Index, with other big-name firms, including Clifford Chance, KPMG and PwC, making progress on closing their class pay gap.
Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility Foundation said: “Young people are on the front line of this great divide which is why employer-led social mobility efforts are so vital to creating opportunity based on merit and not social class.”
APPLICATIONS for the SUTTON TRUST’S United States University programme are now open.
Students have all fees and living costs paid. See us.suttontrust.com.
SOCIAL mobility charity Speakers For Schools is calling on the Govern- ment to make work experience a universal right for state-educated students.
Two thirds of young people aged 18 to 30 cannot recall doing work experience while in education.
But a third of those who did work experience said it boosted their confidence.
And each period of work experience also saw a 3.4 per cent average wage boost.
Andrew Law, chair of Speakers For Schools, said: “Work experience is a fundamental right for students of all backgrounds, not just those attending prestigious schools or lucky enough to have parental connections.
“Young people should be able to learn about multiple types of jobs across different sectors before leaving school.”
Find out more at speakersforschools.org/work-experience-for-all.
PUPILS seeking in-depth social mobility-led work experience can apply for a placement with top charity THE TALENT TAP.
You can find further details on its website thetalenttap.com/students.