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Social Mobility in the United Kingdom as a Serious Issue

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Social mobility is critical for a healthy society and a good state of mental well-being. Equal access to education and skilled employment is vital to boost families’ movement from any community within a society’s social strata and raise the living standard. Since 1980 economic mobility has slowed in Great Britain, and currently, the nation ranks near the bottom among OECD countries for income mobility (Owens et al., 2017). Continued reduction in job opportunities and the high unemployment rate among migrants leads to severe social mobility issues in the United Kingdom, although it has been seen noticeable improvement in education mobility.

Job opportunities creation has decreased since 1980, causing a reduction in skilled jobs with wealthier salaries and increased difficulties for disadvantaged individuals to get a professional career. The lower creation of workplaces than in previous decades causes considerable difficulties in getting to the higher social classes or improving living standards. Furthermore, the research revealed that between 1976 and 2000, the probability of getting a well-paid job in the professional sector was six times higher if a parent had a professional job too. This rapid increase of parent salaries influences on future children’s salaries is a vital issue for further improvement in social mobility (Owens et al., 2017). Recent research has shown that situation for working mothers has improved over the last years. However, women still have difficulties returning to previous employment or positions after maternity leave. They are often forced to take part-time hours or less paid positions in the company (Nunn et al., 2007).

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Another reason to consider social mobility in the United Kingdom as a serious issue is the high unemployment rate among migrants. According to Li (2016), migrants are more likely to be unemployed than British people. First-generation migrants are at the most significant risk of not moving within social strata in society. Moreover, difficulties in getting a well-paid job could also be seen for second-generation immigrants. As the language barrier could explain why first-generation migrants might be at the risk of unemployment, it is unidentified why their kids who finished British schools have still double the unemployment rate compared to British people. Research suggests that the background still has a significant role during the recruitment process.

However, some people argued that social mobility in the United Kingdom is not a severe issue. It has been seen a significant improvement in educational mobility and the educational attainment gap’s closure over the past decades. Between 2011 and 2012, GSCE results improved, and more students over 19 getting a higher education. The improvement could be especially seen in London schools. It is also seen (13%) increased between 1970 and 2012 in acceptance to elite universities like Cambridge or Oxford for students from low-income families, minorities, and women. Although there is an improvement in Russell Groups’ universities access, advantaged students are still more likely to get the place (Owens et al., 2017).

In conclusion, the continued decrease in job opportunities among professional sectors and the high unemployment rate among immigrants are harming social mobility in the United Kingdom. However, it has been seen improvement in educational mobility over the last decades. Although noticeable improvements in the attainment gap have been noticed, students from wealthier families are still more likely to get a place in elite universities than disadvantaged students. This essay has shown that social mobility in the United Kingdom should be considered as a serious issue, and it is crucial to improve the situation.

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Social Mobility in the United Kingdom as a Serious Issue. (2022, October 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from
“Social Mobility in the United Kingdom as a Serious Issue.” Edubirdie, 28 Oct. 2022,
Social Mobility in the United Kingdom as a Serious Issue. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 8 Feb. 2023].
Social Mobility in the United Kingdom as a Serious Issue [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Oct 28 [cited 2023 Feb 8]. Available from:
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