How to get ahead in 21st century Britain: is the answer being straight, white and male?

Joseph Cowell cites the Sutton Trust’s Leading People 2016 research in an article for the Independent.

In recent years, revelations regarding pay disparities between certain groups within the UK have emerged, painting a picture of a system that favours the status quo, and affords greater opportunity to certain people. The release of pay figures for the BBC’s highest earning staff in particular struck a chord in the UK, with the corporation being criticised for the lack of diversity amongst its top talent.

But a social group seen to particularly benefit are “straight white men”. This attention has seen the term enter the vernacular, particularly amongst younger people and on social media. Essentially used as a byword to represent everything that is wrong with a system that only affords opportunities to certain people, a quick search on twitter will reveal countless threads discussing the “straight white male”.


A Sutton Trust report investigating the education of top professionals by sector found Britain’s elite to be overwhelmingly privately-educated, including 74% of the senior judiciary, 71% of senior armed forces and over half of journalists.

Social class as a concept is as fluid as it is difficult to define. Perhaps that’s why the class pay gap doesn’t attract the same attention as other, more visible indicators. But, as the reports show, it has a massive bearing on people’s careers.


Get the story or read our research on the educational backgrounds of Britain’s leading people.

2019-05-16T10:40:15+01:00May 15th, 2019|Categories: In the News|Tags: |

Leave A Comment