Financial News

  • 28 August 2014, 15:21

Britain's Top Jobs Dominated By Private Schools

The majority of top jobs in Britain go to privately-educated pupils, a major new report has revealed.

The UK remains "deeply elitist" according to a study of 4,000 jobs by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission.

The report says private-school pupils and Oxbridge graduates dominate top roles to such a degree that it could be called "social engineering".

The commission's chair, Alan Milburn, concludes that Britain is largely run by people not "familiar with the day-to-day challenges facing ordinary people".

The domination is most pronounced among senior judges, 71% of whom went to fee-paying schools.

Other figures include: senior armed forces officers (62%), permanent secretaries (55%), public body chairs (45%), Sunday Times Rich List members (44%), newspaper columnists (43%), national rugby players (35%) and England cricketers (33%).

Former private school pupils are also over-represented in politics, with half of the House of Lords attending an independent school along with 36% of the Cabinet, 33% of MPs and 22% of the shadow cabinet.

Nationally, about 7% of the population attended a private school.

The report says: "Our examination of who gets the top jobs in Britain today found elitism so stark that it could be called 'social engineering'."

It adds that the "sheer scale of the dominance of certain backgrounds" raises questions about whether getting a top job is about ability or knowing the right people.

Mr Milburn said: "Where institutions rely on too narrow a range of people from too narrow a range of backgrounds with too narrow a range of experiences they risk behaving in ways and focusing on issues that are of salience only to a minority but not the majority in society.

"Our research shows it is entirely possible for politicians to rely on advisors to advise, civil servants to devise policy solutions and journalists to report on their actions having all studied the same courses at the same universities, having read the same books, heard the same lectures and even being taught by the same tutors.

"This risks narrowing the conduct of public life to a small few, who are very familiar with each other but far less familiar with the day-to-day challenges facing ordinary people in the country."

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