Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CAREER DEVELOPMENT / AUG. 28, 2014
version 2, draft 2

Report Reveals Britain's Privately Educated Elite Hold Top Jobs

Britain is one of the most privileged countries in the world when it comes to education and jobs in comparison to developing countries, but today a study by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission claims that Britain’s top jobs are occupied by a select group of privately educated elitists.

The report literally slams some of the country’s highest earners who hold prestigious jobs with the Commission chairman Alan Milburn taking no prisoners in his following comments when he described Britain’s elite as being a so-called “cosy club.” He also delivered the following scathing comments on BBC Radio 4’s Today show:

“We want the best people in the top jobs, the concern of this is the dominance they exercise. If there is one thing that unlocks this huge challenge for the country about the excessive dominance at the top it is improvements in education.”

In a separate statement on behalf of the report he said:

“Locking out a diversity of talents and experiences makes Britain’s leading institutions less informed, less representative and ultimately less credible than they should be.”

Milburn’s harsh words and the report itself have encouraged some of Britain’s “cosy club” to come forward and defend themselves. The HMC chairman Richard Harman a headmaster at Uppingham School referred to the report as:

“Lazy stereotyping and underestimates the diversity within the sector.”

Not everyone has taken offence to the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission’s report, the Sutton Trust’s director Lee Elliot Major commented:

“It is clear more needs to be done at government level to address the issue.”

Other supportive comments came from Prof Steve West who is the chairman of the University Alliance group of business and technology focused- universities called for a:

“Major rethink of what success looks like in the 21 Century. There is a massive breadth of routes to success and huge diversity opportunity in the global, technology-rich graduate employment market.”

The study suggests that Britain’s top jobs are held by privately educated individuals only and has produced the following statistical data to support its claims:

  • 43% of newspaper columnists were privately educated.
  • 55% of senior civil servants were privately educated.
  • 71% of judges were privately educated.
  • 36% of the Cabinet were privately educated.
  • 62% of senior armed forces officers were privately educated.

Senior diplomats and 26% of BBC executives were also called out in the report as being privately educated as well. The report claims that these stats demonstrate “elitism so stark that it could be called social engineering.”

In what is one of the most revealing, and quite frankly damming reports to date when it comes to Britain’s educational and employment stance the report also offers a solution by calling upon employers to publish their own diversity stats. This move mimics Twitter and Google’s recently published diversity reports which did highlight a worrying lack of diversity amongst their workforces. The report also wants senior public jobs to be available to a much more diverse pool of candidates and jobs that don’t fast track graduates into entry-level roles.

Having an education not just a private one is a great asset to anyone regardless of their social background. However, this report is suggesting that there is a monopoly of privately educated individuals that hold the best jobs and as a result Britain is lacking in diversity when it comes to the educational background of its elite workforce.

Image credit - SteveWoods/Shutterstock

SOURCES
www.bbc.co.uk
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