LMF: Launching our Social Mobility Pillar

3 min readDec 4, 2020


We are launching our Social Mobility Pillar in January 2021. Why?

Well, while some progress has been made with levelling the playing field to reduce barriers for those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, there’s more that can be done — we aim to make a positive contribution in this space.

Current State

Research finds that people from more affluent backgrounds take a disproportionate number of desirable jobs and that employers have the tendency to disproportionately employ graduates who went to private schools and elite universities (Elitist Britain, 2019)

Using data from the ONS, the State of the Nation (2019) found that those from ‘better off’ backgrounds are almost 80% more likely to be in a professional job than their working class counterparts

In the UK, success is still very much influenced by ‘who you know’ over what you know, with employers preferring ‘polish over potential’ (SMF, 2020)

A ‘low ability’ child from a high-income family is 35% more likely to be a high earner than a ‘high ability’ child from a low-income family (Social Mobility Commission, 2015) — how is this fair?

The Class Ceiling by Friedman and Laurison (2019) highlights that those from working class backgrounds earn less and find it harder to progress, even if they have the same degree from the same university as someone from a more affluent background. Furthermore, the research found that for black British women with working-class origins, working in top jobs, the “class pay gap” is £20,000

Traditionally elite jobs such as medicine, law and media are among the most “inherited” careers in the UK (The Class Ceiling, 2019). Furthermore, in 2017, only 6% of doctors, 12% of journalists and 12% of chief executives were from working-class origins (Social Mobility Commission, 2017)

This under-representation of people from lower socio-economic backgrounds in such professions limits the progress of society, and contradicts commitments towards improving diversity and inclusion within organisations — which is both the morally right thing to do and benefits the bottom line.

There are numerous corporate responsibility initiatives within companies and social mobility programmes led by the likes of the Social Mobility Foundation, ELBA and upReach. Our Social Mobility lead, Maya Welford, personally benefited from one such programme through ELBA, aged 17, whilst she was at sixth-form. This is one of her key motivations for driving positive societal change — particularly for those from marginalised backgrounds.

Through our Social Mobility Pillar, we will:

  1. Inspire and empower others, through written articles, workshops for people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, and by showcasing individuals who have experienced upward social mobility
  2. Raise the profile of social mobility, by campaigning to challenge biases and discrimination
  3. Research social mobility to deconstruct misperceptions and to educate others

Want to be part of the journey?

You can support LMF’s Social Mobility work by:

  • Completing our survey (deadline 11 Dec)
  • Reaching out if you’ve experienced upward social mobility and you’d like to share your story
  • Volunteering — we are looking for volunteers to support with operations and research

How can I keep in touch?

Follow LMF Network — Linkedin | Instagram | Twitter

Who is this written by?

Maya Welford — Social Mobility programme lead, LMFnetwork. Maya has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability. She is currently a Global Wellbeing Manager at a leading financial services company. Maya lives in London. She is a foodie and enjoys dining-out (when it’s not lockdown!), trying out new recipes and spending time with her two goddaughters.

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