With a General Election just weeks away – what are the British public’s views on equality of opportunity and social mobility? Do today’s voters want to see greater action to level the playing field, and should we be investing to equalise opportunities?

To answer those questions, the Sutton Trust has commissioned More in Common to conduct nationally representative polling on public attitudes to social mobility.

The results show the public perceives British society as both unequal and unfair, with clear social inequalities identified, particularly in relation to jobs and education.

And as we approach the general election, there is also a clear appetite for action – with broad public support for policies to level the playing field.

Read our accompanying manifesto “Fair Opportunity For All”, which outlines a costed roadmap for the next government to tackle educational inequality and improve social mobility – here.


The proportion of people who think the class gap is the same or bigger than 50 years ago.


The proportion of people who say it is important to level the playing field.


The proportion of people who think access to the best state schools is unequal.

Key findings
  • Most of the public (83%) thought there is a big class gap in Britain today with 63% saying it is either bigger or the same as 50 years ago.
  • A substantial majority said children from richer families enjoy better opportunities in schools (62%), universities (62%), pre-school education (59%) and jobs (54%), rising further in jobs like accountancy, law or medicine (61%).
  • 50% of 18-24 year olds said it is harder to move from working class to middle class today and 57% of young people also said it is harder for young people to succeed today than it was for older generations.
  • More than half (51%) said better job opportunities, and a third (31%) better schools, are the most important factors for improving the lives of young people. • 81% thought it the government’s role to ensure fair access to educational opportunities and 69% for job opportunities.
  • Over half (52%) of the public thought access to pre-school or nursery should be free for everyone, just like school is.
  • Over half (53%) of people supported the re-introduction of maintenance grants for university students from low-income households.