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Workplace discrimination and failure to address social mobility costs UK economy £270bn per year

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by Startacus Admin

workplace discrimination social mobility
The UK economy is worse off by £270bn per year due to workplace discrimination and failure to address social mobility, according to research by graduate recruitment platform Debut.

Debut, a graduate recruitment platform launched in 2015, has released the findings of its ‘Working with class: The state of social immobility in graduate recruitment’ report. 

After surveying and interviewing young people in the UK (18-25-year-olds), it found over a third (35%) of participants are put off joining a social mobilitybusiness if they perceive the workforce to be made up predominantly of middle and upper-class employees – extrapolated out this equates to 2.5 million young people.

The OECD reveals it would take 150 years for a child from a poor UK family to earn the national average wage. To couple this, the Social Mobility Commission reveals those from better off backgrounds are almost 80% more likely to be in a professional job than their working class peers. This is costing businesses and the wider economy enormously: the cost of poor social mobility and workplace discrimination equates to a staggering £270 billion per year.

James Turner, CEO at Sutton Trust – who Debut interviewed for this report – stated, “disadvantaged young people are still struggling to get ahead and face worse outcomes than their more advantaged peers. The UK is a particularly class-based society, which hasn’t changed significantly over time.”

In addition, the research found two thirds (66%) of graduates felt they had to change who they are, including their appearance in order to ‘make a good impression’ during an interview. And the majority (64%) of candidates said they weren’t able to express themselves as individuals during the application process. “We need more opportunities to show who we are, and our potential,” said a 21-year-old female participant, “filling in an application form or submitting your CV is not enough.

Other key findings:

  • Attitudes towards businesses – the majority (61%) of respondents don’t think businesses are doing enough to hire people from diverse (defined here as: gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disability, socio-economic) backgrounds.

  • Salary transparency – the majority of respondents (67%) would be put off applying for a job that isn’t immediately transparent about the salary. This was mainly because respondents didn’t know their worth, or they needed a clear number to plan their living expenses.

DebutDebut aims to reinvent graduate recruitment, enabling employers to target their ideal candidates and engage with them directly through its mobile app. 

To download the full ‘Working with class: The state of social immobility in graduate recruitment’ report including interviews from major brands like HSBC, Cisco, WPP and experts like Sutton Trust click here.

If you are interested in this article, you might also want to read up on:

Candidate.ID, the startup that's on a mission to build talent pipelines or Applied - the recruitment platform aiming to help you hire fairer.

How to Attract Diverse Talent into Tech


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Published on: 16th May 2019

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