"Young people are consistently rejected for jobs because of lack of experience. It's a vicious circle that needs breaking or we risk stalling social mobility even further."
We must improve social mobility for the sake of people's health and lives. Health – specifically health inequality – is a hugely significant factor in social mobility. Our nation’s health is far from a level playing field and, for some, health-related disadvantage begins even before birth.
In this article from the latest Future Talent magazine Saaed Atcha MBE shares his story - it is well worth a read (as is the whole edition). He describes his school experiences and the interactions that ignited his drive to start a magazine to change the conversation around young people. He wasn't born into privilege. He knows that he is an example of the few who, rather then the many, who have had access to opportunities that nudged his life in a different direction than that predetermined by his postcode.
Yet apathy towards generating social mobility is a real concern. A recent Social Mobility Barometer * revealed that more than 50% of Britain's over 65 think everyone has a fair chance to progress whilst only 30% of 18- to 24-year-olds said they feel the same. They're the ones actually looking forward at a 60 year career and trying to find a job. Who do you think has a better take on the truth?
I agree with Saaed's calls to action: "How do we ensure that his story becomes the standard experience for disadvantaged youths?" And he goes further ... "how do we change mindsets around the type of talent businesses look for and hire?"
Business has a huge role to play in progressing social mobility. And at this time, it is a hard thing for businesses to invest in. The global economy is teetering on the edge of a recession and the future is uncertain for all but a few booming industries right now. There are things you can do to support social mobility during your recruiting with minimal financial and resource investment from your team:
- Use data to understand recruitment patterns and progression within work for people from different backgrounds.
- Reach out to schools and colleges, not just universities, and particularly schools with more disadvantage.
- Assess for the "whole person" (we can show you how) not just experience or their cv.
- Produce career and support packs for parents, teachers, school leaders, and careers advisors.
- Mentor recruits from non-traditional backgrounds throughout recruitment and beyond, and help to provide the social capital and knowledge of the triggers for promotion and reward so that they progress with the same chances as everyone else.
* conducted annually by the Social Mobility Commission
It’s not where you are that needs to change, but the opportunities need to be there to allow you to change. When I talk to young people, most are just striving for a steady job.