According to the Social Mobility Foundation, individuals from working-class backgrounds who work in professional fields make an average of £6,000 less than those from different backgrounds in the same occupations. This highlights the concerning class wage disparity in the UK.
According to research using quarterly Labour Force Surveys from 2014 to 2022, individuals who come from less privileged backgrounds earn an average salary of £45,437, which is 12% lower than the average salary of £51,728 for those from more affluent backgrounds.
According to Alan Milburn, who is currently the chair of the Social Mobility Foundation and previously served as Labour’s health secretary from 1999 to 2003, there is a troubling issue present in many British workplaces. It is unacceptable that individuals from working-class backgrounds are being paid significantly less than their colleagues in the same job.
Milburn suggested that the government require companies to report on the difference in pay between different social classes, similar to how they report on the gender pay gap. He stated, “It is only fair that individuals receive fair pay for the work they do.”
Based on the data, it appears that the difference in pay between the highest and lowest earning classes could be greater than the difference in pay between genders. This is supported by a Guardian analysis showing a 9.4% median gender pay gap in 2022-23.
The difference in pay between female professionals from working-class backgrounds was particularly severe, with a 19% gap between the average salary for all women (£43,779) and those from working-class backgrounds (£36,737).
Kevin Ellis, a top executive at PwC UK, stated that the disparity in wages between individuals from different socioeconomic backgrounds is not only a problem for society, but also for businesses and the economy.
“Diversity of talent and thought is essential for businesses. We have observed the advantages of enhancing diversity in our workforce, which cannot be quantified without obtaining socioeconomic background information.”
A research study by Chris Percy, a visiting fellow at the University of Derby, was carried out for the Social Mobility Foundation. The foundation is encouraging companies to reveal data on their pay gaps.