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Class divides the UK's workforce

Posted by Hannah Walker in

Organisations across the UK are working to tackle the country's unpleasant reality that professional success derives from who you know. A fascinating piece by the Financial Times today profiles Georgina Jones, who is one of many who comes from a working-class background and has faced a number of challenges in order to achieve her success. Ms Jones explains that employers seek for more than just what is written on your CV; multiple aspects, often referred to as 'soft skills', are assessed: body language, speech, communication and the way you sell yourself as a whole - much of which is unknowing to several candidates. She explains that these skills often stem from parental guidance, something which several young people lack. Ms Jones joined the Social Mobility Foundation, which is one of many organizations across the UK that runs programs designed to teach young people about recruitment, 'soft skills' and ultimately success. She explains: "when I came here, I tried to mirror the people around me, and the way they spoke to each other ["¦] I remember making a conscious effort to learn all those sorts of things."

Mr Firth of Michael Page recruitment company admits that: "companies want a range of people, but they also want quality. And with people from privileged backgrounds - whether or not you're getting a better person - the whole application is better, and I don't blame companies for wanting that." Institutions such as Global Graduates and The Aspiring Professionals Programme are organisations set up to dismantle the barrier that many young people face when applying for universities and later on for employment. The latter matches mentors with careers in finance, law and engineering with students in order to offer advice and training throughout their application process. They are designed to help applicants draw out skills from any previous part-time work and learn how to sell them to employers. David Johnston who is chief executive of the Social Mobility Foundation revealed that connections and networking is one of many secrets that the elite know - and the less advantaged get left behind.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons