Three quarters of us move into a different social class from where we were born over our lifetime. We all want our children to do well. Most of us want them to achieve more than we did. But it looks like that’s not going to happen.
Researchers at the University of Oxford think that social mobility is not actually in decline but is changing direction.
The expansion of professional and managerial-level jobs peaked in the 1980s so that the children of those who benefited from that will not be able to follow in their footsteps.
There has even been movement back down the social ladder according to Professor Erzebet Bukodi. Only about 5% of boys born in 1946 started out in the highest social category (professional & managerial classes) compared to 16% in the 1980s. Half of those born in 1946 managed to move up the social classes and 20% fell down. By the 1980s only 35% moved up and the same proportion fell down.
It appears social mobility has stalled with were opportunities for people from poor backgrounds to progress up the ladder. Research by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission found that while only 7% of the population is privately educated they account for 75% of senior judges, 2/3 of the senior armed forces and more than 50% of senior civil servants.