Only rich Britons can get professional jobs: report

Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:29am EDT
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By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Only children from the richest British families can enjoy careers in top professions like law and medicine because of increasingly impenetrable social barriers, a government-commissioned report said on Tuesday.

The study, led by former Labour government minister Alan Milburn, said there was a "closed shop mentality" in many professions which excluded young people from low and middle income backgrounds.

"Frankly there are too many kids out there from average income families who are bright ... and who want to go on to get a top professional career but haven't got the right connections, haven't necessarily gone to the right school, maybe haven't had the chance to go to university, and that has all got to change," Milburn told BBC radio.

The "Fair Access to the Professions" report said "birth not worth" had become a greater factor in deciding someone's chances in life and that professions had become increasingly socially exclusive, open to fewer people.

It found:

* 75 percent of judges, 70 percent of finance directors and 45 percent of all top civil servants had been to independent schools, although just 7 percent of the population were independently educated.

* Those who get professional jobs grow up in a family richer than seven in 10 of all British families.

* A doctor of the future will grow up in a family richer than five in six of all UK families, while a journalist will grow up in family more affluent than three in four of all families.   Continued...