Survey from CV-Library examines prevalence of discrimination due to class.

Class reaction.

Research from CV-Library has found two-thirds (67 per cent) of Brits think social class can be an issue for people when securing a job. The same survey found one in three (29.3 per cent) admitting that they’ve felt discriminated against because of their class during their job search.

The study surveyed 2,000 working professionals and 300 UK employers and also reveals that over half (54.1 per cent) of companies don’t think class discrimination is an issue when hiring; this is despite the majority admitting that they can be bias when assessing job applications and during interviews.

Respondents citied issues such as where they’re from (48.3 per cent), their class (46.2 per cent), the way they speak (43.2 per cent), the school or university they attended (33.1 per cent) and where they currently live (18.6 per cent) as the main factors. Alongside this:

  • Respondents in the North East were most likely to feel discriminated against for their class (60 per cent), followed by those in the North West (58.3 per cent) and those in Wales (54.5 per cent)
  • Professionals in Scotland were most likely to feel discriminated against for how they speak (61.1 per cent), followed by those in the West Midlands (53.3 per cent) and the North East (48 per cent)
  • Workers in the South West were most likely to feel discriminated against for where they’re from (61.9 per cent), followed by those in the West Midlands (60 per cent) and East Anglia (57.1 per cent)

Despite this, over half (54.1 per cent) of employers don’t think discrimination around class is an issue when hiring, though the majority admit that they can be bias when assessing job applications (85.3 per cent) and during interviews (86.3 per cent). Over three-quarters (79.2 per cent) of workers also think employers are bias during job applications and interviews.

When asked about the areas they make pre-judgements on during the hiring process, employers admit that they do consider the way they speak (77.3 per cent), where they’re from (44.6 per cent) and their class (31.8 per cent).

“Tackling discrimination around age, race, disability and gender have long been key focal points for companies, but little is talked about it in relation to social class,” said Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library. “Our study highlights the disconnect between how workers and businesses feel about the issue and it’s clear that more needs to be done to raise awareness of its impact on both organisations and job hunters.

“The TUC has already called for stronger workplace rights to counter the class privilege that remains in Britain today, but businesses hold responsibility too. Ensuring that your recruitment process is fair for all applicants is crucial; especially if you’re already struggling to find the talent you need to fill your vacancies.”

Alongside this, three-quarters (70.4 per cent) of professionals think legal measures should be taken to tackle discrimination based on class at work, with a smaller 62.1 per cent of employers agreeing. The study also asked employers whether they think companies should be forced to report any gaps in pay between workers from different social backgrounds, with 54.2 per cent believing they should.

Indeed, just over half (50.5 per cent) of Brits think their social class impacts how much they get paid, with this figure rising to 57.4 per cent amongst people who identified as lower middle class. However, only 39.5 per cent of employers felt this was true.

Biggins concludes: “Pushing more responsibility on businesses to stamp out class prejudice is certainly something the Government should be considering right now; particularly as the country is at risk of wasting the skills and resource of some of our most talented workers.”

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