Rethinking social mobility for the levelling up era

Social mobility should not just be about ladders up into the elite for a few, but a broadly based advance for the many

October 14, 2021

It is time for a new approach to social mobility. For the past 20 years it has focused too much on the “long” mobility of sending people from disadvantaged backgrounds to elite universities and into the higher professions. That is a desirable goal but for social mobility to be fit for the levelling up era it needs to be relevant to a much more broader group of people, and needs to focus on the supply of decent jobs for a range of talents and aptitudes and not just reorder the queue for entry into the professional elite. As author Alun Francis, Principal of Oldham College and new Deputy Chair of the Social Mobility Commission writes: “The upward relative mobility of the few, must be matched by the upward absolute mobility of the many.”

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