OVERVIEW

COVID-19 IMPACT

5x

How much more likely Britain's most influential people are to have gone to fee-paying school.

81%

The proportion of leaders in finance that think presentation stops disadvantaged candidates from being hired.

£1,100

The monthly cost of an unpaid internship in London.

40%

The proportion of young people who have carried out an internship without pay.

How can we change this?

Our research has uncovered practical, evidence-based solutions to make sure all careers are open to the most talented people, regardless of their background or what school they attended.

An end to unpaid internships

An end to unpaid internships

Internships are increasingly seen as a necessary step to start a career, yet we have found that these opportunities are all too often unpaid and recruited through informal networks, effectively putting them out of reach of many low income youngsters.

To ensure that these opportunities are open to all, employers should pay their interns and ensure that all roles are openly advertised with  recruitment processes that are fair, transparent and based on merit. The law should be tightened to ban outright all internships longer than four weeks in length that do not pay at least the National Minimum Wage. The government should also work with HMRC on enforcing National Minimum Wage laws and ensuring that employers are aware of the current legislation

SOCIAL MOBILITY IN THE WORKPLACE: AN EMPLOYER’S GUIDE (2020)

elites in the uk:pulling away? (2020)

parliamentary privilege (2019)

PAY AS YOU GO? (2018)

INTERNSHIPS – UNPAID, UNFAIR, UNADVERTISED (2018)

INTERNSHIP OR INDENTURE (2014)

Contextual recruitment

Contextual recruitment

Our research has consistently shown how young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds are under-represented in leading professions, including at the point of entry.

Employers should consider contextual recruitment practices that place an applicant’s academic success in the context of disadvantage, including attending an underperforming school and growing up in a less advantaged neighbourhood.  Ensuring more young people from lower income homes gain access to entry level positions is an important first step in ensuring the professions overall become more representative.

SOCIAL MOBILITY IN THE WORKPLACE: AN EMPLOYER’S GUIDE (2020)

parliamentary privilege (2019)

ELITIST BRITAIN 2019 (2019)

Monitoring socio-economic diversity

Monitoring socio-economic diversity

Monitoring socio-economic diversity is a crucial step that employers can take to improve social mobility in their workplace. Monitoring diversity can help an organisation to identify any gaps in access or progression, which in turn can help them to target any initiatives aiming to improve diversity.

The Sutton Trust has published step-by-step guidance for employers on how to measure socio-economic diversity in our Employer’s guide to improving social mobility in the workplace.

SOCIAL MOBILITY IN THE WORKPLACE: AN EMPLOYER’S GUIDE (2020)

Careers advice

Careers advice

Good careers advice from an early age is crucial for allowing young people to make informed decisions about their next steps. This has never been more important than today, as the system is more complex to navigate with multiple education options and new career pathways. Yet we know there is a postcode lottery in the quality of guidance on offer, and those from the poorest backgrounds often have the least support.

High quality, impartial and timely careers advice should be available to young people from all backgrounds. All pupils should receive a guaranteed level of careers advice from professional independent advisers, with further support available for those facing disadvantage.

SOCIAL MOBILITY IN THE WORKPLACE: AN EMPLOYER’S GUIDE (2020)

ELITIST BRITAIN 2019 (2019)

ADVANCING AMBITIONS (2014)

46%

Almost half of students say they’re less likely to find a graduate job because of the pandemic.

61%

The proportion of employers who have cancelled work experience placements last summer.

48%

Almost half of employers think there will be fewer placements available in their businesses over the next year.

How can we change this?

Opening up opportunities

Opening up opportunities

The pandemic has had a serious impact on Britain’s job market. With fewer opportunities available, the pandemic is likely to have a considerable effect on access to the workplace. A recession also risks increasing the number of unpaid internships on offer, with disadvantaged young people less able to work for free.

Employers should redouble their efforts to open up opportunities during this time. This can be achieved through contextual recruitment practices, paying and openly advertising internships and monitoring the socioeconomic diversity of the workforce. Detailed advice on actions employers can take can be found in our employer’s guide.

SOCIAL MOBILITY IN THE WORKPLACE: AN EMPLOYER’S GUIDE (2020)

COVID-19 IMPACTS: ACCESS TO THE WORKPLACE (2020)

Online experience

Online experience

Employers should work to keep the pipeline into their industry open, including where possible moving experiences online. Where internships, work experience placements or recruitment processes are moved online, employers should ensure they remain accessible, for example by providing tech equipment if needed. Interns and those doing placements should still be paid for their time, ideally at the Living Wage.

The move to online working presents opportunities for social mobility as well as challenges. When moving recruitment online, employers should use the opportunity to reach large numbers of young people without geographical restrictions and reach a wider pool of talent.

SOCIAL MOBILITY IN THE WORKPLACE: AN EMPLOYER’S GUIDE (2020)

COVID-19 IMPACTS: ACCESS TO THE WORKPLACE (2020)

Read our free guide on how to improve socio-economic diversity within your organisation.

Explore our priorities

Early Years Early Years icon

Early Years

Schools Schools icon

Schools

Higher education Higher education icon

Higher education

Apprenticeships Apprenticeships icon

Apprenticeships