Alan Milburn, social mobility tsar, says that a sense of pessimism and feeling that they are on the wrong side of a ‘profound unfairness’ led to record numbers of young people voting in the recent general election.
Young people are worried about their finances, job security and housing prospects. These findings arose as part of the recent Social Mobility Barometer, which surveyed 4723 UK adults.
Over half of 18-24 year-olds said they though that where people ended up was determined by their background and who their parents were. Four-fifths of survey respondents said there was a large gap between the social classes today.
The attitudes about financial position and job security were telling:
- Only 24% of 25 to 49-year-olds said they were better off than their parents
- Just a fifth of 18 to 24-year-olds believed they had better job security.
Only 30% of 18 to 24-year-olds believe it is becoming easier to move up in British society.
Mr Milburn warned: ‘Britain’s deep social mobility problem, for this generation of young people in particular, is getting worse not better.’
The academics’ union, the University and College Union, described the poll results as depressing and said young people had seen ‘their pay fall, the jobs market remain incredibly difficult, tuition fees rocket and support to stay on at college disappear.’
And Sir Peter Lampl, chair of the Sutton Trust charity, which promotes social mobility, said: “The commission’s barometer should be a wake-up call for policymakers.
“Political rhetoric needs to be translated into real polices to level the playing field and improve opportunities for young people, particularly for those from the most disadvantaged families.”