Social Mobility

What role does enterprise and financial education play in social mobility? What is the link between social mobility and soft skills such as resilience and character?

There is an increasing body of evidence linking social mobility – the ability to improve one’s standard of living, through better education, employment and income – to non-cognitive skills such as confidence, self-esteem and resilience.

People who overcome adversity and realise their potential tend to exhibit these key skills; thereby enabling them to develop the ability to believe in themselves, pursue their goals along the way.

The essence of enterprise and financial education is to develop young people’s key skills such as confidence, resilience and financial capability through learning by doing, the ability to keep going when things don’t go to plan, whilst raising awareness on the links between one’s earning capacity, career aspirations and life choices.


The All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility, The Class Ceiling: Increasing Access to the Leading Professions. ¹


Deloitte, Fair access to work: Levelling the playing field for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds ²

  • In 2016, just 10.3% of applications to UCAS were from the most disadvantaged students compared with over 30% of the most advantaged
  • Students from under-privileged backgrounds earn almost 10% less than the most advantaged, six months after graduating in the same subject
  • The most disadvantaged students were more likely to be employed in jobs that require essential talents e.g. cognitive skills and abilities and social skills which will enable workers to adapt to further technology driven shifts in the future.


Teach First, Impossible? Social Mobility and the Seemingly unbreakable class ceiling ³

  • Even with a degree, young people who started poorer get a 10% cut in pay compared to colleagues with the same qualifications
  • Pupils living in the same neighbourhood and with similar GCSE results make very different post-16 choices depending on whether or not they are eligible for free school meals.
  • Young people from low-income backgrounds in particular struggle to overcome barriers presented by costs, lack of information and lack of networks
  • Poor social mobility to cost the UK £14billion per year, by 2050


Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, State of the nation 2016: social mobility in Great Britain ⁴

  • Only 1 in 8 children from low-income backgrounds is likely to become a high-income earner as an adult
  • Over the last 5 years 1.2 million 16-year-olds – disproportionately from low-income homes – have left school without 5 good GCSEs.
  • Just 5% of children eligible for free school meals gain 5 A grades at GCSE
  • Young people from low-income homes with similar GCSEs to their better-off classmates are one third more likely to drop out of education at 16 and 30% less likely to study A-levels that could get them into a top university

Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Monitoring poverty and social exclusion

In the most deprived areas 11% of secondary schools were rated as inadequate by Ofsted

  • In the most deprived quintile of areas, 11% of secondary schools were rated as inadequate by Ofsted in 2015, almost twice as many as the 6% in the median quintile. In the least deprived quintile, only 1% were given this rating
  • Children receiving free school meals are less likely to get 5 good GCSEs than others


Deloitte, The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017 

  • In mature markets, only 36% of millennials predict they will be financially better off than their parents and 31% say they’ll be happier.
  • 38 percent of millennials globally who would leave their jobs within two years
  • income inequality was one of the issues of most concern to millennials and underlined a growing anxiety among young people about what the future holds.


More details:

¹ The All-Party Parliamentary Group of Social Mobility, The Class Ceiling, release date: 2017. The report summaries the All Party Parlimentary Group on Social Mobility’s inquiry into Access into Leading Professions, investigating how to increase access of people from disadvantaged backgrounds into the most selective professions

² Deloitte, Fair access to work: Levelling the playing field for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, release date: December 2016. Fair access to work is the second report in a series which address the challenges faced by many people in the UK in accessing education, training and employment.

³ Teach First, Impossible? Social Mobility and the Seemingly unbreakable class ceiling, release date: March 2017.

⁴ Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, State of the nation 2016: social mobility in Great Britain. Release date: Nov 2016. The fourth annual ‘State of the nation’ report from the Social Mobility Commission presents compelling new evidence that for this generation of young people in particular, it is getting worse not better. Low levels of social mobility are impeding the progress of not only the poorest in our society

Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Monitoring poverty and social exclusion, release date: 23 Nov 2015. This report looks at the whole five years of the Coalition’s term in government, including incomes, jobs, pay, homelessness and education and makes the link between deprivation and secondary school performance.

Deloitte, The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017release date: March 2017. This report sets out the concerns of millennials, their expectations for the future, and how they believe business might help create the type of world they wish to inhabit. The 2017 report is based on the views of almost 8,000 millennials questioned across 30 countries. Participants were born after 1982 and represent a specific group of this generation: those who have a college or university degree; are employed full-time; and, work predominantly in large, private-sector organizations.