Report Overview

This report was prepared by the Sutton Trust for the APPG on Social Mobility. It summarises the APPG on Social Mobility’s inquiry into Access into Leading Professions, investigating how to increase access of people from disadvantaged backgrounds into the most selective professions – such as law, finance, medicine, journalism, the arts, the civil service and politics. The report outlines how the government, universities, schools and employers can lead the way so everybody, no matter what their background, may aspire to join the leading professions.

Key findings

Previous Sutton Trust research has shown that the UK’s professional  elite is disproportionately educated at private schools and Oxbridge. With this in mind, the inquiry has explored what is being done to improve access into the leading professions for people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The sheer volume of reform, programmes and initiatives to widen access by various professions that the inquiry has identified offer considerable encouragement, yet gaps remain, of which the most important is national leadership to help map these activities and identify significant gaps.

  • A strategic approach to social mobility should be developed.
  • Financial barriers to accessing the professions should be minimised.
  • Recruitment practices should be fair and transparent.
  • Careers advice for young people needs to be significantly improved.
  • Schools should encourage pupils to develop skills beyond their core curriculum that are keenly sought after by employers.
  • A list of sector-specific recommendations can be found in the report.