Recent research by the Social Mobility Commission has found that UK professionals from working-class backgrounds are paid, on average, £6,800 less than those from more affluent families.
Finance, medicine and information technology have the largest gaps, in a snapshot study that received responses from over 90,000 people.
Alan Milburn, chairman of the commission said that this average 17% pay gap reveals that the UK remains a ‘deeply elitist’ society.
The gap was partly caused by difference in educational background, and the tendency of the middle classes to move to London and work in bigger firms. But even when there is a shared educational background, those from poorer families still were paid an average of over £2,000 less.
It is suggested that professionals from poorer backgrounds are less likely to ask for pay rises and shy away from promotion for fear of not fitting in. Networking and contacts may also be limited.
73% of doctors and 66% of journalists are from professional backgrounds, compared with fewer than 6% and 12%, respectively, from working-class backgrounds.
Despite this, there is evidence of social mobility, with 48% of people rising up the ladder from their parents’ position, compared with 31% who slid down. But strong barriers to social mobility still persist.
Read more on the Social Mobility Commissions .GOV site.