According to the Social Mobility Foundation, individuals from working-class backgrounds who have professional jobs earn an average of £6,000 less than their peers from different backgrounds. This highlights the significant pay gap between social classes in the UK, which is considered to be a shameful issue.
According to research using quarterly Labour Force Surveys from 2014 to 2022, individuals from less privileged backgrounds typically earn an average salary of £45,437, which is 12% lower than the average salary of £51,728 for those from more privileged backgrounds.
Alan Milburn, who currently serves as the chair of the Social Mobility Foundation and previously held the position of Labour’s health secretary from 1999 to 2003, stated that there is a concerning issue present in many workplaces in Britain. It is unacceptable that individuals from working-class backgrounds are receiving significantly lower pay than their colleagues in the same field.
Milburn urged the government to mandate reporting of the class pay gap in efforts to close the gulf in wages by socioeconomic background, as with the gender pay gap. “A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work is the least anyone should expect,” he said.
The information indicates that the difference in pay between the 12% class could potentially be greater than the average difference in pay between genders, which was calculated to be 9.4% in 2022-23 according to a study by The Guardian.
The difference in pay between men and women in the same profession was particularly significant for women from lower-class backgrounds, with a 19% gap. On average, women from all backgrounds earned £43,779, while those from lower-class backgrounds earned £36,737.
According to Kevin Ellis, a senior executive at PwC UK, the disparity in salary between individuals from different socioeconomic backgrounds is not just a problem for society, but also for businesses and the economy.
Companies require a variety of skills and perspectives. We have witnessed the advantages of enhancing our employees’ diversity – this cannot be quantified without gathering information on their socioeconomic backgrounds.
Chris Percy, a visiting research fellow at the University of Derby, conducted an analysis for the Social Mobility Foundation. The foundation is calling on employers to reveal their pay gap data.