People from working-class backgrounds employed in professional careers earn £6,000 less compared to those from other backgrounds in the same jobs, according to a new study
A new study has revealed a “shameful” class pay gap in the UK, with working-class people earning £6,000 less for the same professional roles.
The research by the Social Mobility Foundation found that professionals from poorer upbringings face an average salary of £45,437 – this is 12% lower than the £51,728 for people from more affluent origins.
The study also found a gender disparity, with women from working-class backgrounds facing a 19% pay gap. This is based on the average professional salary for women of all backgrounds (£43,779) compared to those from working-class backgrounds (£36,737).
The study is based on research from quarterly Labour Force Surveys from 2014 to 2022. Alan Milburn, Social Mobility Foundation chair and Labour Health Secretary from 1999 to 2003, said: “A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work is the least anyone should expect.
“But too many of Britain’s workplaces share a shameful secret. It cannot be right that professionals from working-class backgrounds are paid significantly less than their peers in the same occupation.”
He continued: “Some pioneering employers are measuring their Class Pay Gap – as a precursor to closing it. But it will take action from Government to see the step-change that’s needed.
“As they did with Gender Pay Gap reporting, it is time to mandate the reporting of socioeconomic background data. What gets measured, gets done. Without government action, millions of people will continue to be undervalued and underpaid.”
The Social Mobility Foundation analysis was conducted by Chris Percy, visiting research fellow at the University of Derby. The foundation is urging employers to disclose pay gap data.
Kevin Ellis, senior partner at PwC UK, commented on the findings: “The gap in pay between professionals from a lower socioeconomic background and their more privileged peers, is not only a societal issue but an issue for business and the economy. Businesses need diversity of talent and thought.
“We’ve seen the benefits of improving the diversity of our workforce – you can’t measure this without collecting socioeconomic background data. Gathering data helps you understand what interventions to make because these changes don’t happen naturally. We always strive to do more – so it’s positive to see other employers now starting to collect data and making efforts to close their socioeconomic background pay gaps.”
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