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Majority Of UK’s Top Jobs Being Filled By Private School Students

31 Aug 2014

Majority Of UK’s Top Jobs Being Filled By Private School Students

New research conducted by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission alleges that a majority of top jobs in the UK are being filled by Oxbridge graduates and students from a private school background.

The study describes the way that many of the best jobs in Britain are awarded as ‘deeply elitist’ and warns against the dangers of creating a ‘closed shop at the top.’

The report studied over 4,000 individuals from a range of well-paid, much-respected, admired and strategically-important job descriptions, and concluded that job seekers who do not come from a private school background are at a disadvantage when it comes to securing those types of vacancies.

Some of the stats that the report shine a light on reveal that more than 7 in 10 judges, 3 in 5 senior armed forces, and over half of all permanent secretaries and senior diplomats are from a privately-educated background. Three-quarters of senior judges and 60 per cent of all cabinet ministers are now Oxbridge graduates according to the study’s findings.

Putting those figures into perspective, fewer than 1 in 14 students in the UK have matured from a private school education and a fraction of one per cent have studied at an Oxbridge institution.

The report also looked into other top public job positions - such as politicians, journalists, TV executives, public officials and sports personalities - and found a similar education background trend.

Many people fear that such a high percentage of top UK jobs being held by such a small cross section of society could mean that those holding such positions might not understand nor be sympathetic to the needs and feelings of members of society from other backgrounds.

In one damning comment, the report states that, “Our examination of who gets the top jobs in Britain today found elitism so stark that it could be called social engineering” and remarks that landing a top job in the UK is now more about who-you-know rather than what-you-know.

Commenting on the report’s findings, Alan Milburn, Labour MP, a leading proponent of social mobility and chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty commission, said: “Where institutions rely on too narrow a range of people from too narrow a range of backgrounds with too narrow a range of experiences they risk behaving in ways and focusing on issues that are of salience only to a minority but not the majority in society.”

“Our research shows it is entirely possible for politicians to rely on advisors to advise, civil servants to devise policy solutions and journalists to report on their actions having all studied the same courses at the same universities, having read the same books, heard the same lectures and even being taught by the same tutors. This risks narrowing the conduct of public life to a small few, who are very familiar with each other but far less familiar with the day-to-day challenges facing ordinary people in the country,” added Mr Milburn.

However, Andrew Grant, an ex-chairman of an organisation which represented 250 of the top independent schools in Britain, begged to differ:

“It is clear that Alan Milburn doesn’t like the idea of the very best people doing demanding jobs in selective fields. Personally, I would like my surgeon and my lawyer to be extremely well-educated, and the best in their field,” offered Mr Grant...

Well, we’d like to think that we at employment4students are anything but elitist! We try to put as many student jobs and graduate jobs in front of the eyes of as many potential applicants as we possibly can. All we hope for is that the most-suited candidate for the particular role we are advertising lands the job that they deserve. You can check out some ideas for the best jobs for students who are still at college and university in our section of Top Jobs For UK Students.

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