Fair Access to Professional Careers - A progress report by the Independent Reviewer on Social Mobility and Child Poverty

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Fair A ccess to Professional C areers:A progress report by the Independent R eview er on Social M obility and C hild Poverty. M ay 2012. Fair Access to Professional Careers A progress report by the Independent Reviewer on Social Mobility and Child Poverty May 2012 i Contents Foreword and summary 1 Chapter 1 Introduction 9 Chapter 2 Progress in the professions – what has changed since 2009 13 Chapter 3 Progress in the legal profession 31 Chapter 4 Progress in the medical profession 43 Chapter 5 Progress in journalism and the media professions 51 Chapter 6 Progress in Westminster and Whitehall 57 Chapter 7 Progress made by government on access to the professions 65 Annex A Contributors to the progress report on Fair Access to Professional Careers 83 References 85 © Crown copyright 2012 You may reuse this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. To view this licence, go to: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU email: psi@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk Where we have identified any third party copyright information you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned. If you have an enquiry regarding this publication, please contact: 0845 000 4999 servicedesk@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk This publication is available from www.official-documents.gov.uk and www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk 1 Foreword and summary Rt. Hon Alan Milburn, Independent Reviewer on Social Mobility and Child Poverty Three years ago I reported on what the UK’s professions were doing to aid and abet social mobility in our country. Unleashing Aspiration, the report of the Panel on Fair Access which I chaired, made 88 recommendations to professions, employers, universities, schools and government. This report documents what has changed since 2009. In the intervening three years there has, of course, been a change of government. But the commitment to social mobility has remained constant. The Coalition Government has published a new strategy on the issue and asked me, as Independent Reviewer, to report on its progress. This is my first report. Shortly I will publish two others: one on higher education and the contribution universities are making to social mobility; and the other an assessment of what government is doing to tackle child poverty and enhance social mobility. This report focuses on the role of the professions. They make an enormous contribution to both the British economy and our society. Professions like medicine and law are characterised by high levels of integrity and excellence. They are world leaders in their fields and a source of pride for our country. Today there are almost 13 million professionals in our country. In total 42% of all employment in the UK is in the professions. That is set to rise to 46% by 2020. Data quoted in this report suggests that the professions have withstood the economic downturn more robustly than other forms of employment. If anything, a professional career is a surer guarantor of economic security and social progress than it was even three years ago. And that will continue into the future. The professions will account for approximately 83% of all new jobs in Britain in the next decade. They hold the key to improving social mobility. The question posed by this report is whether the growth in professional employment is producing a social mobility dividend for our country. The short answer is not yet. The report examines what the professions and government are doing. It looks at specific professions and makes recommendations for further action to build on those made in Unleashing Aspiration to improve social mobility. This report concludes that without further and faster action on the part of the professions, government and others, Britain risks squandering the social mobility dividend that the growth in professional employment offers our country. Social mobility is about breaking the transmission of disadvantage from one generation to the next. When a society is mobile it gives each individual, regardless of background, an equal chance of progressing in terms of income or occupation. The upsurge in professional employment in the middle of the last century created an unparalleled wave of social mobility in Britain. It created unprecedented opportunities for millions of women and men. In the decades since then social mobility has largely stagnated. 2 Fair access to professional careers: A progress report Over recent years there has been a growing recognition that a society in which birth not worth dictates people’s outcomes is not only unfair: it is also unviable. The global financial crisis and the subsequent economic turmoil that has affected countries like the UK have brought these matters to a head. A broad swathe of public and political opinion has coalesced around a deep social concern about rising inequality. A new consensus has begun to emerge that unearned wealth for a few at the top, stagnating incomes for those in the middle and deepening disadvantage for many at the bottom is not a sustainable social proposition. Changing that is a long-term endeavour and it will require a genuine national effort. It is not merely a job for government. Of course, government needs to provide a lead, set an example and create the framework for change. But social change is primarily driven from below, not above. Families and communities are the foundation stone. It is there that aspiration is incubated. Schools and career services have a key role in nurturing potential and developing talent. Universities, colleges and employers – if they open their doors fairly – can then harness and grow it. The professions sit at the heart of this agenda for change. Three years ago I found that for all the efforts that the professions had made to expand the pool of talent from which they recruited, they had actually become more – not less – socially exclusive over time. Unleashing Aspiration found that tomorrow’s professional is growing up in a family richer than seven in ten of all families in the UK. The consequence was that too many able children from average income and middle class families ��� let alone low-income families – were losing out in the race for professional jobs. At the top of the professional tree especially, the default setting was to recruit from far too narrow a part of the social spectrum. That closed-shop mentality was bad for the professions and bad for any prospect of improved social mobility in our country. Unleashing Aspiration argued that much more had to be done to ensure that all those with the necessary ability and aptitude got a fairer crack of the whip when it came to realising their aspirations for a professional career. The report uncovered a series of practical barriers that prevented fair access to a professional career – unfocused aspiration-raising programmes, poor careers advice, lack of school choices, artificial barriers between vocational and academic education, unfair university admissions, limited work experience opportunities, non-transparent internships, antiquated recruitment processes, inflexible entry routes. It recommended action across the waterfront to break down those barriers in order to make a professional career more genuinely meritocratic. Unleashing Aspiration led to the promise of a new drive to open up professional careers to a broader social mix. Three years on, this report asks what progress has been made. The answer is not yet enough. On the positive side of the equation, there is evidence of a galvanised effort on the part of many organisations and individuals to engage with the fair access agenda. In particular, many young people working in the professions seem to be highly motivated to encourage successor generations to aspire to a professional career. The range and depth of this activity are to be commended. Overall the Government has shown good intentionality when it comes to trying to improve fair access to a professional career, even though it is making more progress in some areas than in others. It needs to be more holistic in its approach and ensure that its efforts are better co-ordinated. The Social Mobility Business Compact, however, is to be commended. We would now like to see the Government encouraging a broader range of employers, including smaller firms, to commit to the criteria of the Compact. It should establish clear goals and objectives for the programme as a whole. It should publish an annual update on the progress of the Compact, and the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission should periodically review it. Certain professions have already made progress. The civil service is a case in point. In 2009 Unleashing Aspiration found that 45% of Senior Civil Servants had been privately educated. More up-to-date research has shown a progressive change in this pattern. Of today’s top 200 civil servants (Directors General and Permanent Secretaries), 27% were educated at an independent school. Over one-third (37%) had attended a 3 Foreword and summary grammar school and 18% had been to a state comprehensive school. There is a long way to go, but this is a start. The civil service is one of several individual professions that this report looks at specifically. It finds that the legal sector is starting to make real efforts in addressing fair access and social mobility. In some cases the legal sector is at the forefront of driving activity aimed at changing access to professional jobs, whether this is through co-ordinated outreach programmes or by introducing socio-economic data collection. We commend these efforts and would like to see other professions following suit. There is, however, a lot more that needs to be done. The further up the profession you go, the more socially exclusive it becomes. Even more worryingly, entry to the law – and therefore the lawyers of the future – is still too socially exclusive. Overall, law is on the right track. But its progress is too slow. It needs to significantly accelerate. Conversely, medicine lags behind other professions both in the focus and in the priority it accords to these issues. It has a long way to go when it comes to making access fairer, diversifying its workforce and raising social mobility. There is no sense of the sort of galvanised effort that the Neuberger Report induced in law. That is regrettable, not least because when it comes to both gender and race, medicine has made impressive progress over recent years. Its success in recruiting more female doctors and doctors from black and minority ethnic backgrounds indicates that with the right level of intentionality the medical profession can also throw open its doors to a far broader social intake than it does at present. The profession itself recognises that the skills which modern doctors require include far greater understanding of the social and economic backgrounds of the people they serve. That is a welcome recognition. It now needs to be matched by action. Overall, medicine has made far too little progress and shown far too little interest in the issue of fair access. It needs a step change in approach. This report finds that journalism has shifted to a greater degree of social exclusivity than any other profession. Without a single representative or regulatory body, responsibility for bringing about change to the media sector sits with organisations’ boards, senior staff, editors, and human resources teams. Our sense is that current efforts are fragmented and lacking in any real vigour. Journalism, with some honourable exceptions, does not seem to take the issue of fair access seriously. Where it has focused on the issue, it has prioritised race and gender but not socio­ economic diversity. That needs to change. Finally, in politics this report argues that we should want the brightest and the best to be leading our country, regardless of their background. But when the major political parties continue to select Parliamentary candidates who are disproportionately drawn from better-off backgrounds, to the exclusion of those from less well-off ones, they are limiting that pool of talent rather than widening it. Of the Coalition Cabinet in May 2010, 59% were educated privately. Some 32% of the final Cabinet under the previous Labour Government were also educated privately. Over recent years, the political parties have made some progress on selecting women and candidates from minority ethnic backgrounds. A similar effort is now needed on their part when it comes to diversifying the socio-economic backgrounds of those they select to be their candidates for MPs. The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission should look for evidence of that in the lead-up to the next general election. Across the professions as a whole, the glass ceiling has been scratched but not broken. The professions still lag way behind the social curve. If anything, the evidence suggests that since 2009, taken as a whole, the professions – despite some pockets of considerable progress – have done too little to catch up. The general picture seems to be of mainly minor changes in the social composition of the professions. At the top especially, the professions remain dominated by a social elite. For example, this report finds that: • the judiciary remains solidly socially elitist, with 15 of the 17 Supreme Court judges and heads of division all educated at private schools before going on to study at Oxford or Cambridge 4 Fair access to professional careers: A progress report • of 38 justices of appeal, 26 attended private schools, eight attended grammar schools, just two attended state comprehensive schools and two were schooled overseas • 43% of barristers attended a fee-paying secondary school, with almost a third going on to study at Oxbridge • of the country’s top journalists, 54% were privately educated, with a third graduating from Oxbridge • privately educated MPs comprised 30% of the total in 1997 but after the 2010 election now comprise 35%, with just 13 private schools providing 10% of all MPs • 62% of all members of the House of Lords were privately educated, with 43% of the total having attended just 12 private schools. This is social engineering on a grand scale. The senior ranks of the professions are a closed shop. If social mobility is to become anything other than a pipedream they will have to open up. Unfortunately, the evidence collected for this report suggests that there is only, at best, limited progress being made in prising open the professions. That is not about to change any time soon. Data collected for this report indicates that the next generation of our country’s lawyers, doctors and journalists are likely to be a mirror image of previous generations. Data from 2010/11 on those who succeeded in getting a university place shows that: • 41% of law undergraduates were from the three highest socio-economic groups and only 21% came from the five lowest groups • 49% of journalism students came from the highest groups and 14% from the three lowest • 57% of medical students came from the top groups and only 7% from the bottom, with 22% of all medical and dental undergraduates being educated at private schools. Private schools, which educate only 7% of all pupils, continue to have a stranglehold on our country’s top jobs. Of course parents should be free to send their children to the school of their choice. After all, every parent wants the best for their children. The problem is that despite the progress of the last decade there are still too few good schools, and the gap between private and state schools often remains frustratingly wide. But it is not just in schools that the sources of Britain’s low levels of social mobility can be found. There are many contributory factors. It is as much about family networks as it is careers advice, individual aspirations as it is early years education, career development opportunities as it is university admissions processes. It is also about the fact that too often the professions close their doors to a wider social spectrum of talent instead of opening them. This report finds that by and large the barriers that were identified in 2009 as posing the biggest obstacles to more meritocracy in the professions have remained intact. When it comes to raising aspirations among young people for a professional career there is evidence of a lot more activity than in 2009. Many employers are now reaching out to schools and organising taster sessions for pupils. But co-ordination and evaluation are lacking. Government has taken action to help here through a number of policy initiatives which are welcome steps in the right direction, but as yet they do not have national scale or punch. The Government should grow existing initiatives to match the ambitions set out in Unleashing Aspiration for a major national drive to raise young people’s awareness of professional career opportunities. A national mentoring scheme is a particular priority for action. There has been some progress on reforming careers services, particularly by devolving responsibility to schools, as recommended in Unleashing Aspiration. These are welcome developments but there are more steps which the Government now needs to take. First, although schools will have a statutory duty to provide independent, impartial careers guidance for pupils aged 14–16, there is still a question about whether schools will be able to do this effectively given that they have no additional funding. The Government must take all necessary steps to ensure that careers advice in schools does not miss the most disadvantaged pupils. Second, it is critical that access to independent careers guidance is 5 Foreword and summary extended to cover 13 year olds. Third, Ofsted inspections of schools must routinely consider the extent to which pupils understand the options and challenges facing them as they move on to the next stages of their education, training and employment. There is a mixed picture on internships. The evidence suggests that having work experience or an internship on a CV is even more critical to finding employment now than it was even three years ago. Over one-third of this year’s graduate vacancies will be filled by applicants who have already worked for the employer as an undergraduate and, in some sectors, the proportion increases to 50% or more. The critical questions are who gets these opportunities and how do they get them. There have been welcome developments in Whitehall, where the Government is ending informal internships. All departments will advertise their existing professional internship schemes on a central Whitehall website, with outreach undertaken to promote internships and work experience to under-represented groups. Other sectors have a far less positive story to tell. In medicine, for example, work experience is a requirement for entry to medical school but getting access to it is often unstructured and informal. It is wide open to gaming by those in the know and indirectly discriminates against those who are not. We could uncover little systematic effort on the part of the medical profession to address this palpable unfairness. Similarly, despite The Speaker’s Parliamentary Placements Scheme being among the finest examples we have come across in any sector, most Parliamentary interns are still recruited informally, thus favouring those in the know and those with connections. Parliament as a whole must step up to the plate on this issue. It should be setting a good example – not a bad one – for other employers and professions. That is not the case at the moment. But the worst offender is the media industry. What seems to distinguish journalism from other professions is that interns are substitutes for what in other sectors would be regarded as functions carried out by mainstream paid employees. The practice in much of the media industry is more akin to treating interns as free labour. The problem with that is self-evident. It is possible only for those who can afford to work for free. It means that others – perhaps with equal or better claims on a career in journalism – are excluded from consideration. Unpaid internships clearly disadvantage those from less affluent backgrounds who cannot afford to work for free for any length of time. They are a barrier to fair access and, indeed, to better social mobility. It is welcome that the Government has indicated that employers should go beyond their legal obligations and pay interns a wage that reflects the value of the intern’s contribution, but there is a long way to go before employers’ practices change to reflect these policy changes. That will require vigilance and continued effort on the part of government. It should find the best way to kitemark internships for their quality and should consider innovative means of offering financial support to disadvantaged young people wanting to undertake an internship. The exponential growth in internships in the professions adds up to a profound change in the British labour market. Access to work experience is a new hurdle that would-be professionals now have to clear before they can even get onto the recruitment playing field. Given their centrality to young people’s career prospects, internships should no longer be treated as part of the informal economy. They should be subject to similar rules to other parts of the labour market. That means introducing proper, transparent and fair processes for selection and reasonable terms of employment, including remuneration for internships. There is a similar uneven picture when it comes to how the professions go about selecting and recruiting their workforces. All too often those processes reinforce rather than reconfigure the socio-economic make-up of the professions. Recruiters end up selecting new people who are pretty much like the old. Unless fairness is more intentionally embedded into recruitment and selection procedures then it is unlikely that there will be anything other than a superficial shift in the social composition of the professions. For example, the UK’s leading employers target an average of only 19 universities for their graduate recruitment programmes. The overwhelming evidence suggests that too many professional employers still recruit 6 Fair access to professional careers: A progress report from too small a cohort of universities. Since those universities are the most socially exclusive in the country, these recruitment practices merely reinforce the social exclusivity of the professions. The marginal progress that has been made in the last few years to broaden the group of universities from which the professions recruit needs to be rapidly accelerated if the big growth in professional employment, predicted over the next decade, is to produce a social mobility dividend for Britain. Similarly, there is uneven recruitment across the UK nations and regions by the professions. The overwhelming majority of The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers were offering vacancies in London for 2012 but only 44% in the north east of England and 41% in East Anglia. It is little surprise that in the next few years almost half of the growth in jobs in higher-level occupations will occur in London and the south. Taking these predictions into account, it seems that regional disparities in access to a professional career are growing and are set to go on doing so. If employers are genuinely concerned about broadening the background of their workforces they will need to show far greater intentionality in expanding the parts of the UK from which they recruit. The same is true when it comes to creating more flexible entry routes into a professional career. In the 1950s, professional jobs were open to a wide variety of people with a range of qualifications. It was possible in a career such as journalism to work your way from the bottom, without a degree, to the top of the profession. The professions were socially mobile and, in turn, contributed to an upsurge in social mobility in the country. Today it remains important for social mobility that the professions, while retaining the highest standards, find ways of opening up opportunities for people at different stages of their lives, from more flexible entry through to career progression routes. Of course, most professions will want to recruit university graduates. Many professions, however, have become the exclusive preserve of those with a minimum of a first degree, reducing the employment opportunities for people without a graduate-level qualification. As ‘qualification­ inflation’ continues to take hold even in traditionally non-graduate professions like nursing, the danger is that an exclusive reliance on the graduate labour market distorts their social intake just as it has distorted that of other professions. To ensure that there is greater diversity in the professions there need to be more diverse entry routes. Thankfully there have been some positive developments here. In 2009, Unleashing Aspiration reported that only four of The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers accepted non-graduate entrants. Today, around 50% offer some form of non-graduate entry point. This report argues in conclusion that during the last three years the professions have faced a challenging and turbulent time. The employment market remains fragile at best. In these circumstances there is a risk that improving fair access to professional careers becomes sidelined. Some of the evidence submitted for this report indicates that is happening. That is not to say that, in hearing from employers, professional bodies and regulators, progress is not being made both by individual employers and by some professions. Some organisations have been working to improve fair access for a long time and social mobility has become an integral part of what they do. It is also pleasing to see some regulatory bodies, for the first time, setting clear objectives on improving social mobility and offering robust challenge where progress is not seen to be made. And this report contains examples of exemplary good practice and highlights where genuine progress has been made. There are developments that are to be welcomed. Many individuals and organisations have put their shoulders to the wheel and are determined to continue doing so. Their efforts deserve praise. But the overall picture is far less positive. To recap: • efforts to raise awareness and aspirations in schools are too sporadic and too unspecific. They need to become universal and better co-ordinated • too many employers recruit from too narrow a range of universities and regions. They need to widen their net • work experience and internships are still a lottery even as they become a key part of the formal professional labour market. They need to be treated as such 7 Foreword and summary • selection processes and data collection – the foundation stones for making progress – are too haphazard. They need to be given much more serious attention • entry to the professions has begun to be diversified but the graduate grip on the labour market is still strong. There needs to be a far bigger drive to open up the professions to a wider variety of people with different qualifications. These are significant areas for improvement. There is no one profession that can say it has cracked the fair access problem. Indeed, almost no profession has a clear plan for doing so. Unleashing Aspiration recommended that each profession should carry out a review of current practice on fair access with a view to developing practical ideas for improvement. It urged each profession to report publicly on these by the end of 2010, with a clear set of recommendations and an action plan for implementation. As far as we are aware, not a single profession has done so. This is profoundly disappointing and suggests that, despite rhetoric to the contrary, all too often the reality is that the fair access agenda remains sidelined in most professions. That is unacceptable and must change. The professions should now consider what steps they need to take. They need to massively up their game. The Government should do more to pressurise the professions to act. And the new Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission should report annually on what, if any, progress the professions are making. If the appropriate action is taken to open up the professions to a broader array of talent, Britain can realise a social mobility dividend from the growth we are seeing in professional jobs. There is every chance that, like the 1950s, the next decade can be a golden era when it comes to opening up opportunities in our society. But that will not just happen. It has to be made. With a genuine national effort we can break the corrosive correlation between demography and destiny that so poisons British society – between being born poor and, in all likelihood, dying poor; between going to a low-achieving school and so ending up in a low- achieving job; between missing out on a university place and so missing out on a professional career. This is a prize we must not let slip through our fingers. Winning it requires far more effort on the part of the professions. And, as my next two reports will argue, on the part of universities and government too. Rt. Hon Alan Milburn, Independent Reviewer on Social Mobility and Child Poverty May 2012 9 Chapter 1 Introduction This chapter sets out: • The remit of this report • The long-term growth in professional employment • The headline findings of the 2009 report Unleashing Aspiration • The methodology and contents of this report In August 2010, the Deputy Prime Minister appointed me as the Independent Reviewer on Social Mobility. In April 2011, the remit of my role was expanded to include child poverty, pending the establishment of a new statutory Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission. As Independent Reviewer, I have been assessing the progress that both the Government and wider society have been making in improving social mobility and eliminating child poverty. This is my first report. This report provides an assessment of activity around fair access to professional careers. It builds on the work that I led in 2009, when I chaired the Panel on Fair Access to the Professions.1 The Panel was asked to work with the professions to identify obstacles to access and how they could be removed. The Panel published its final report, Unleashing Aspiration,2 in the summer of 2009. Since then, of course, there has been a change in government. Nonetheless, social mobility has remained a core social policy priority, a point emphasised in the Government’s social mobility strategy Opening Doors, Breaking Barriers: A Strategy for Social Mobility,3 published last year. Three years on from Unleashing Aspiration, equity of access to professional careers remains an important part of the social mobility jigsaw. If job opportunities are not accessible to all those with the requisite skills and talent, efforts being made to improve social mobility will continue to stall. That is especially important in the short term, given the unacceptably high levels of youth unemployment in our country. Social cohesion demands a reinvigorated drive to ensure that professional jobs are as evenly spread as possible across the social spectrum. That is particularly the case, given that professional employment has largely withstood the economic downturn. Graduate-level employment is the only form of employment that increased over the course of the recession.4 In contrast, employment rates for those holding no qualifications saw the biggest decline of 11.9%. This is also reflected in employment rates for those holding degree- level qualifications, which are almost five times as high as employment rates for those holding no qualifications. 10 Fair Access to Professional Careers: A progress report A professional career is a surer guarantor of economic security and social progress than it was even three years ago. This relative strength of the professional sector is set to continue. Labour market projections up to 2020 predict, along with gradual recovery in overall employment levels, continued evolution towards a more knowledge- based and service-intensive economy.5 With professional employment set to increase over the long term, there is hope that many more young people, regardless of their background, will be able to get on and move up. In the 1950s, the growth of professional employment helped to unleash an unparalleled wave of social mobility in Britain. Ensuring that today’s surge in professional employment produces a similar social dividend depends on removing any barriers to a professional career so that those with talent and potential experience a level playing field of opportunity. Unfortunately, Unleashing Aspiration found that, if anything, the professions had become more, not less, socially exclusive over time. Figure 1.1 tells its own story. The 2009 report predicted that, if these trends continue, a typical professional of the future will now be growing up in a family that is better off than seven in ten of all families in the UK.6 The consequence will be that social mobility will slow down not speed up. Unleashing Aspiration identified six key areas for improvement: 1. Raising aspirations: new opportunities for young people to learn about the professions. 2. Schools: new opportunities to learn and choose careers. 3. Universities: new opportunities to pursue higher education. 4. Internships: new opportunities to get onto the professional career ladder. 5. Recruitment and selection: new opportunities for talent to shine. 6. Flexible professions: new opportunities for career progression. This report is a stocktake of progress on those themes as they relate directly to the professions. Shortly I will publish a separate report on social mobility and access to higher education, and in the summer a full report on trends in child poverty Figure 1.1: Comparison of the family income background of typical professionals7 Te ach er s Le ctu rer s a nd pr ofe sso rs Ar tis ts, mu sic ian s an d w rit er s 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Professions with a falling proportion of members who grew up in families with above-average incomes %  d iff er en ce  b et w ee n  th e  av er ag e  fa m ily ’s  in co m e  an d  th e fa m ily  in co m e  of  t he  h ou se ho ld  in  w hi ch  t he  t yp ic al pr of es si on al  g re w  u p  La wy er s Do cto rs Jou rn alis ts an d br oa dc ast er s Ac co un tan ts Ba nk er s En gin ee rs Sc ien tis ts an d o the r me dic al car ee rs Sto ck br ok er s an d t rad er s Nu rse s Professions with a rising proportion of members who grew up in families with above-average incomes 1958 birth cohort 1970 birth cohort and social mobility. These three reports will form part of a formal handover to the new Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission. This report restates the case for fair access to the professions and why it matters. It assesses progress since 2009 against four key criteria: • Raising aspirations: what employers and government are doing to help young people to learn about and aspire to have a professional career • Work experience and internships: what employers and government are doing to make internships transparent and accessible to help people to get onto the professional career ladder • Recruitment and selection: what steps employers have taken to ensure their recruitment and selection processes are genuinely open to the widest range of talent • Flexible professions: what measures have been put in place to provide a wider range of routes into a professional career. It sets out next steps for the professions, the Government and the new Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission. Methodology My team took evidence from a wide range of sources. A list of the organisations consulted and those which submitted evidence to the call for evidence (issued in May 2011) is attached as Annex A. Desk work The team reviewed research and statistics, think tank publications and academic journals in order to construct an informed picture of the current state of play. Call for evidence The team issued a call for evidence in May 2011 to around 200 professional bodies and employers. Each was invited to send progress updates. More than 100 responses were submitted. b-live survey This survey draws on a study of aspirations, surveying young people, parents and their Chapter 1 Introduction 11 teachers, conducted by b-live, a social enterprise, and analysed by the Education and Employers Taskforce and Dr Deirdre Hughes. Evidence hearings The team held evidence sessions attended by major employers, professional bodies and regulatory bodies. Bilateral evidence The review team has met with key stakeholders in the field of social mobility and access to the professions. In addition, bilaterals have been held with representatives from a range of professional sectors. Outline of this report Chapter 2 sets out the case for why promoting fair access to the professions needs to remain a priority issue for government, employers and wider society. It also highlights the current employment picture, employment projection and the overall progress since 2009 that employers and professional bodies have made in promoting fair access. This high-level analysis is followed by a more detailed look at four particular professional sectors. For each sector, this includes setting out what the current workforce looks like; activities being undertaken by that profession to improve social mobility; and the remaining challenges, next steps and recommendations for further action. Chapter 3 looks at the progress that has been made to improve fair access to a professional career in the legal profession. Chapter 4 looks at the progress that has been made to improve fair access to a professional career in the medical profession. Chapter 5 looks at the progress that has been made to improve fair access to a professional career in journalism and the media professions. Chapter 6 looks at the progress that has been made to improve fair access to a professional career in Parliament and the civil service. Chapter 7 sets out the progress made by government through policies designed to improve access to the professions. 13 Chapter 2 Progress in the professions – what has changed since 2009 This chapter sets out: • Why fair access to the professions matters • The current employment picture • Progress that employers and professional bodies have made • What more needs to be done Why social mobility matters There is an overwhelming moral and financial case for continuing efforts to improve social mobility. It is not fair that the circumstances of birth should go on to dictate the opportunities available for the rest of an individual’s life. As the April 2011 social mobility strategy1 so clearly sets out, social cohesion depends on opportunities being more evenly available across society so that talent and potential – not fate and background – determine people’s ability to progress. If anything, the case for a bigger drive to galvanise social mobility has grown since 2009. The global financial crisis, the subsequent recession, the current sluggish state of the British economy and the process of fiscal consolidation have all taken their social toll. Since the publication of Unleashing Aspiration in July 2009, unemployment has risen by 181,000 and youth unemployment (for those not in full-time education) by 261,000.2 Inequalities – social and geographic – have widened.3 Poverty, among children in particular, is likely to have increased.4 A broad swathe of public and political opinion has coalesced around a deep social concern about rising inequality. A new consensus has begun to emerge that unearned wealth for a few at the top, stagnating incomes for those in the middle and deepening disadvantage for many at the bottom is not a sustainable social proposition. People are looking for action so that our society becomes more open, more mobile and more fair. Government has a key leadership role to play but it is not a job for government alone. Other social actors will need to play their part – parents and communities, schools and universities, employers and professions. The professions have a critical role. They are a key and growing source of employment opportunities. As the society which they serve becomes ever more complex and heterogeneous, the professions themselves will need to keep pace by becoming ever more diverse. In an increasingly competitive global market, they will need to do more to make the most of the widest possible pool of talent. There is both a pressing social and a self-interested case for their becoming exemplars for the sort of 14 Fair Access to Professional Careers: A progress report open society that public opinion increasingly craves. Sadly, all too often the professions as a whole have been behind the social curve. If anything, the evidence suggests that since 2009, taken as a whole, the professions – despite some pockets of considerable progress – have done too little to catch up. The current picture Who are the professions? There is no single definition of the professions but for the purposes of this report, we use the definition set out in Unleashing Aspiration. Typically, they have some or all of the following traits: • Recognisable entry points – for example, with standard qualification requirements • Codes of ethics – for example, that set out aspects of professional responsibility • Systems for self-regulation – for example, setting and regulating standards for professional development • A strong sense of vocation and professional development. Today, the biggest professions are in engineering (5.6 million);5 local government (2.6 million);6 healthcare (1.4 million);7 and financial and insurance services (1.1 million).8 However, smaller professions, such as accountancy (286,000)9 and law (around 165,000),10,11 remain high-quality, high-status, high-reward professions. Since 2009, the professions that have grown in number the most are IT and telecommunications. Those that have seen the biggest falls in employment are investment banking and fund management.12 The labour market Much of the second half of the 20th century in the UK was characterised by economic and industrial change which increased income mobility and the number of professional, managerial and administrative occupations.13 While there were 2.2 million professional posts and 3.1 million associate professional posts in 1984, these rose to 3.9 million and 4.9 million respectively in 2009,14 when Unleashing Aspiration was published. Today there are an estimated total of 12.8 million professionals in our country. In total 42% of all employment in the UK is in the professions.15 A recent report by University Alliance found that during the global financial crisis and subsequent economic recession employment in professional occupations continued to grow, while the largest job losses were in routine manual and non-manual occupations.16 Occupations with a high proportion of graduates were less affected by job losses. According to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI),17 those working in more highly skilled occupations tended to fare better over the course of the recession, with employment in these areas increasing (as did employment in caring, leisure and other service occupations). Employment in all other occupations decreased. Graduate-level employment is the only form of employment to have increased over the course of the recession (by 3.6%). In the short term, of course, some forms of professional employment are still feeling the effects of the economic downturn. Overall, a small decrease in vacancy levels of 1.2% is predicted for 2011/12. Nonetheless, some sectors such as law and engineering are planning to increase their recruitment numbers significantly. The future will see continued growth in professional employment. The UK Commission for Employment and Skills found in its most recent labour market assessment that there is likely to be a slow recovery from recession, with the UK economy generating around 1.5 million additional jobs by 2020. Managers, professionals and associate professional roles provide the most significant increases. Around 2 million additional jobs in these occupational categories are projected by 2020.18 This offsets projected decreases in a number of other categories, such as skilled trades occupations. The shape of the UK workforce is changing. The share of total employment taken by white- collar occupations is projected to rise from 42% to 46% between 2010 and 2020. Figure 2.1 shows employment projections for the nine major occupations in the period from 2010 to 2020, comparing them with developments over the previous decade. A rather faster pace of change, with accelerated growth in professional roles and bigger declines in trade and blue-collar Chapter 2 Progress in the professions – what has changed since 2009 15 Table 2.1: Expected percentage change in vacancies from 2010/11 to 2011/12 by sector, excluding oil companies and chemical or pharmaceutical companies19 Sector IT/telecommunications company 32.5% Construction company or consultancy 29.4% Public sector 27.8% Energy, water or utility company 16.0% Engineering or industrial company 10.0% Fast-moving consumer goods company 6.4% Insurance company 5.9% Law firm 5.4% Banking or financial services 0.4% Retail –2.9% Transport or logistics company –4.9% Accountancy or professional services firm –12.9% Consulting or business services firm –16.0% Investment bank or fund managers –41.7% occupations, is now expected than was the case over the previous decade. The professions will account for approximately 83% of all new jobs in Britain in the next decade. They hold the key to improving social mobility. This changing labour market provides Britain with both a major economic and a social opportunity. If the professions can genuinely open their doors to the most talented people, then the UK can improve its competitive position in the global economy. If the professions can broaden the background of those they employ, then the UK can speed up social mobility and contribute to greater social cohesion. Figure 2.1: Employment changes from 1990–2000 to 2010–2020 All industries 1990 to 2000 2000 to 2010 Managers, directors and senior officials Professional occupations Associate professional and technical Administrative and secretarial Skilled trades occupations Caring, leisure and other services Sales and customer service Process, plant and machine operatives Elementary occupations thousands 2010 to 2020 –2,000 0 2,000 –2,000 0 2,000 –1,000 0 1,000 16 Fair Access to Professional Careers: A progress report The socio-economic make-up of the professions There is, however, a long way to go to make a reality of that opportunity. The latest longitudinal data21 we have on social mobility and access to professional careers is from the 1970 birth cohort, as set out in Unleashing Aspiration. It found that the overall trend is a growing social exclusivity in the professions. In nine of the 12 professions examined, there was an increase in people coming from better-off families between the 1958 and the 1970 birth cohorts. It is difficult to assess trends in access rates to the professions for the most recent generation. Latest data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency,22 however, on the socio-economic background of undergraduates across a range of vocational degrees shows that: • while 40% of engineering undergraduates were from the three highest socio-economic classes in 2002/03, this had dropped to 38% by 2010/11 • architecture has seen a more significant drop in the number of undergraduates from the top three socio-economic classes, from 42% in 2002/03 to 36% in 2010/11. These figures echo the pattern we will see in Chapters 3, 4 and 5 on the social background of those entering medicine, the law and the media. The general picture seems to be of mainly minor changes in the social composition of the professions. At the top especially, the professions remain dominated by a social elite. That is neither beneficial for the professions themselves nor conducive to a more mobile society. A progress update from the professions Unleashing Aspiration made 88 r


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