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The UK is still elitist

Research findings show the UK is “deeply elitist”, with those educated at private schools and Oxbridge still monopolising the top roles.

A study conducted by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission found that around 75% of senior judges, 59% of the Cabinet, 57% of permanent secretaries, 50% of diplomats, 47% of newspaper columnists, 38% of the House of Lords, 33% of the shadow cabinet and 24% of MPs hold Oxbridge degrees.

Karen Silk, managing director of recruitment firm Capital International Staffing, is used to requests for top-notch candidates from leading universities. 

She tells Recruiter: “We do get requests for Oxford and Cambridge, and we do get Russell Group specified. We do get PhDs specified and we have even had [a request] for a PhD out of Oxbridge.” She adds: “If [companies] have got a certain type of role, they will specify exactly what they want in terms of degrees and universities.”
Rob Saltrese, a director at Streamline Connections, tells Recruiter:  “Some companies are so fixated on marks that the only way someone from what might be referred to as a middling university or lower can get through is by going out and getting a masters degree from a good university and then get top marks.”

He adds that not everybody with a first from a top university has the best communications skills and the best ability to engage people or be a leader.
Many of those in top roles also have a private school education. The research found that 71% of senior judges, 62% of senior armed forces officers, 55% of top civil servants, 36% of the Cabinet and 43% of newspaper columnists were educated at private schools.

Commenting on the research, David Gardner, director of public policy at KPMG, says in a statement: “This research highlights an under-representation of state school and non-Oxbridge-educated across the institutions that have such a profound influence on what happens in our country.

“While there are big challenges for business on diversity in leadership, the evidence suggests that the private sector is actually more meritocratic than Whitehall, the judiciary or military top brass, and movement is positive.

Denise Keating, chief executive at the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion, adds in a statement: “Considering that only 7% of the UK population meets the ‘elite’ definition given for the study, the percentage of top jobs held by these elite is staggering. Social mobility seems to represent a glass ceiling for employees trying to enter, and progress in, certain professions.” - See more at:
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