Social Mobility – Is it important and necessary, are we making progress?
14 October 2014
Meeting Time: 18.30 - 22.00
Lack of social mobility in the UK continues to be an issue which we are unable to deal with. Equality of opportunity and lack of fairness in access to the professions, public life and to some extent, boardrooms, effectively reduces the pool of talent available and denies many extremely able people the opportunity of fulfilling their potential and maximising their contribution to public wellbeing. But does this matter - is social mobility important, is it necessary and are we making any progress in reducing the lack of mobility?
Sir John Major believes that 'the influence that a privately educated, middle-class elite have on public life is ''shocking'' with the upper echelons of power dominated by those from a similar background'. Too many children he added were 'locked into the circumstances in which they were born' as a result of a lack of educational opportunities.
Our speaker at this Members' Dinner, Alan Milburn, was appointed by David Cameron to look into social mobility and child poverty in Great Britain and reported in the autumn of 2013 with the stark message that 'the shocking lack of mobility is a consequence of decades of entrenched elitism and likely to worsen because of a breakdown in the link between economic growth and the wages of most workers'.
In his report, Milburn set out five long-term goals in the areas of childcare, parenting, raising educational standards, opening up universities and ending unpaid internships in the professions as a way of tackling closed shops.
Members' experiences in this area were discussed with particular reference to the scarcity of talent and need for diversity in the backgrounds of senior executives.