A new report from the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission has analysed the background of 4,000 leaders in politics, business, the media, and other aspects of public life. In the UK, 7% of pupils attend independent schools. The research shows that a disproportionate number of these pupils go on to fill top jobs, including 71% of senior judges, 33% of MPs, 36% of the Cabinet, 45% of public body chairs, and 43% of newspaper columnists.
The research presents a similar picture in terms of those adults who graduated from Oxbridge. Although this figure is less than 1% of the UK adult population, alumni of these universities make up 75% of senior judges, 24% of MPs, 59% of the Cabinet, 44% of public body chairs, and 47% of newspaper columnists.
Although the report acknowledges that many talented people go to independent schools, the authors argue that certain professions should be more representative of the public for reasons of legitimacy. The authors also conclude that a narrow elite suggests serious limits on adult social mobility, and that the sheer scale of the dominance of certain backgrounds raises questions about the degree to which the composition of the elite reflects merit.
Source:Elitist Britain (2014), Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission.