‘Employment inequalities’ add to severe labor shortage in UK



A study found that people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds presented themselves for 35% fewer roles after full-time training. Photo: Getty

A lack of trust in Britons from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds is preventing millions from applying for jobs, new data has revealed, even as there are record numbers of job vacancies in the UK and the country is facing severe labor shortages.

Many people from low-income backgrounds are hampered because they are unable to gain unpaid work experience, relocate for a job, use family ties, or obtain financial assistance from others. their parents.

That’s according to a report by Totaljobs and the Social Mobility Foundation in which 5,000 UK adults were interviewed last month.

The report defined a person from a “lower socio-economic background” or “low-income background” as a person with a parent or guardian who worked in a technical or craft profession; routine or semi-routine manual or service work, or were long-term unemployed.

This includes jobs such as a mechanic, plumber, electrician, train or truck driver, postman, caretaker, service staff and machine operator.

Read more: UK job recruitment campaign fails to meet diversity and inclusion targets

Based on this definition, the study found that people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds presented themselves for 35% fewer positions after full-time training compared to people from professional backgrounds, submitting on average six candidates against nine.

Those from lower socio-economic backgrounds also earn less than half (£ 11,595, $ 15,550) of what their more privileged counterparts make in their first job after full-time studies (£ 23,457).

Factors that negatively impact people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds when looking for work include lack of self-confidence in writing a CV (15%) and inability to travel outside of their region for work (13%).

“The harsh reality is where you grew up and what your parents did always impacts your opportunities and earning potential,” said Sarah Atkinson, CEO of The Social Mobility Foundation.

For many, the opportunity to gain unpaid work experience continues to create an unfair advantage.

More than half (56%) of people from professional backgrounds have undertaken unpaid work experience at some point, compared to 44% of those from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.

Read more: UK labor market hit by candidate shortage

Of those who started their first job in the past two years, only 50% from lower socioeconomic backgrounds said they were confident they could eventually do the job they wanted. This contrasts with the 71% of people from more privileged professional backgrounds.

And that gap has widened since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

People with professional backgrounds were 47% more likely to have benefited from family ties when obtaining their first job, and more than half also received financial support during the job search process.

Only a third of people from disadvantaged socio-economic groups received help from family or friends to find a job.

The likelihood of moving to work decreases for people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, with 76% of those from professional backgrounds prepared or able to move, compared to 64% of those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Some 35% of those who live in “cold zones” of social mobility believe that where they are based has a negative impact on their employment prospects and 16% of this group say that the lack of safe work in their workplace. region has a negative impact on their job seek.

Read more: Flexible work can lead to prejudice against people in the office, LinkedIn study finds

“Companies need more than ever to implement a multi-pronged approach when it comes to stimulating opportunities in the workplace, by reaching potential candidates in the ‘cold spots’ of social mobility, by offering career counseling candidates and monitoring the diversity of their applications. Said Jon Wilson, CEO of Totaljobs.

He said that by evaluating hiring strategies to make them as inclusive as possible, employers can not only address some of the inequalities in employment, but reach a larger and more diverse talent pool from which to hire. .

Atkison added that “Whether it’s implementing contextual recruiting or reporting on the socio-economic background of staff, there are practical tips on what changes you can make to ensure you’re open to the job. largest pool of talent and candidates with the most potential, not just Polish. “

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