Over Half of 18 to 21-Year-Olds Believe That Success Levels Related to Their Parent’s Identity

The new Social Mobility Barometer recently conducted a survey of 4,723 United Kingdom (UK) adults which had some interesting things to say about young people.

According to social mobility king Alan Milburn, who heads the commission that monitors progress toward improving social mobility, young persons are “deeply pessimistic” about their ability to do well in the British “us and them society.”

He reported that they “increasingly feel like they are on the wrong side of a profound unfairness,” which is why records were set by the young turning out to vote in the recent general contest.

Especially worrisome, he added, are housing, jobs, and financing in general.Over half (51%) of those 18 to

Over half (51%) of those 18 to 24-year-olds polled for the “Barometer” said they thought people’s ultimate success level had to do with their parents’ identity along with their own background.  This was contrasted with 40% of those asked who were aged 65 and over.  Four-fifths of respondents said they saw a large chasm between the social classes in today’s UK.

Per all respondents, 47% said they were faring better financially than their parents, although this dropped to 24% in the 25 to 49-year-old group.  Also, only a fifth of 18 to 24-year-olds believed they had a better level of job security than their parents.

Milburn said: “Young people increasingly feel like they are on the wrong side of a profound unfairness in British society – and they are unhappy about it.

“The barometer finds that half of young people think the situation is getting worse, with only 30% of 18- to 24-year-olds believing it is becoming easier to move up in British society.

“The feelings of pessimism young people are expressing are borne out by the facts they are experiencing.

“Those born in the 1980s are the first post-war cohort not to start their working years with higher incomes than their immediate predecessors.

“Home ownership, the aspiration of successive generations of ordinary people, is in sharp decline, among the young especially,” he added.

Milburn warned that “Britain’s deep social mobility problem, for this generation of young people in particular, is getting worse not better.”

The government has said it was committed to making sure that Britain is a country that works for everyone. However, the academics’ group, 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.”

The Chairman of the Sutton Trust charity, Sir Peter Lampl, said, “The commission’s barometer should be a wake-up call for policymakers.  Political rhetoric needs to be translated into real policies to level the playing field and improve opportunities for young people, particularly for those from the most disadvantaged families.”

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