The opening words of the new social mobility report launched by
the All Party Parliamentary Group on this topic area states that
the report was produced to "discuss and promote the cause of
social mobility; to raise issues of concern and help inform policy
makers and formers". Whilst the above objectives are certainly
admirable, I guess it also helps to highlight the fact that the UK
has not progressed as effectively as we all would have liked in
regards to creating a fairer platform for all groups to push on in
life. We remain in economically hard times with very high levels of
unemployment. Upon this backdrop we must ask ourselves whether or
not there is truly an appetite to get Britain socially mobile
amongst those who have power. There is a great difference between
the words appetite and desire. One can live with a desire to have
something, but an appetite is a lot harder to ignore.
The findings of the parliamentary group's report are almost
identical to the findings of a report we recently launched in
Race to the Top. Our report was launched in partnership with
Deloitte. It focused on the experiences of black students within
Higher Education, and their outlook on employment as a result. We
found that black students are three times more likely to be
unemployed upon graduation than white students, and that they were
likely to earn 9% less after 5 years doing the same work. We also
found that 60% of black students anticipated experiencing some form
of discrimination when trying to progress in their careers. I guess
the most interesting finding of the report for me was that students
felt that government and policy careers were the most
discriminatory to break into.
People from ethnic minority backgrounds tend to live in large
communities where they have unique challenges. For example, there
are large Pakistani communities in the North East, and we only need
to look at the Bradford West by-election to hear their cry for
help. African & Caribbean communities are heavily populated
within inner city areas, and 50% of the young people from this
background are unemployed. This is in contrast to the national
average of 20%. Tower Hamlets has a large Bangladeshi community
with huge academic and economic challenges, and 25% of Leicester is
of Indian heritage. These differences simply cannot be ignored,
because their size and potential benefits to our country in the
longer term could be enormous. For in tomorrow's global world,
having UK citizens with dual heritage could only add more value as
we seek to win more international business, and to build new
relationships in emerging markets. The challenge for everyone going
forward, including those at Deloitte, is what we can do as
individuals to ensure better outcomes for ethnic minority
communities. Yes, there is certainly more room for structural
changes within government and organisations, but we all have a part
The gap between the rich and the poor has widened in recent
years, and the question of who does what to ensure better social
mobility outcomes is now firmly on the agenda. I would encourage
all professionals to dedicate a set period of time each month to
helping a person or a community to improve their overall outcomes.
For in doing so not only will the benefactors be richer for it, but
so will they.
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