More than half of West Midlands residents say the pandemic has made social mobility more difficult, with women more likely to feel this than men.
More than half – 55% – of respondents in the region also agree that people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds have been more disadvantaged.
As the government plans post-pandemic catch-up to ensure people from the poorest backgrounds and future generations are not further disadvantaged, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Driving Social Mobility research highlights the biggest barriers people face. face to reach their potential, and how government and business can help improve social inequalities.
Nationally, the public lacks optimism about the prospects for future generations. While 59 percent say they have had more opportunities than their parents, only 52 percent believe that younger generations will have the same or better opportunities.
Across the generations, there are different views on the barriers to social mobility. People over 55 see skills and education as the biggest barriers. Young people between the ages of 18 and 34 are more likely to view ethnicity and lack of support network, gender, disabilities and where people grow up as the biggest barriers.
Respondents from ethnic minorities believe that the biggest obstacles to realizing their potential are ethnicity, followed by gender, disability, lack of support network to grow up and the region in which they grew up.
Almost two-thirds of those polled in the West Midlands believe the government should work with local businesses to provide more hands-on experience as part of the education catch-up process following the pandemic. People unanimously see the measures that companies can take, such as offering internships in companies, offering pathways for non-graduates to employment, training and mentoring, as all playing a role. important role in social mobility.
Nick Hatton, Head of West Midlands Place and Goals at PwC, said: “This research is a stark warning that the pandemic risks turning social mobility upside down. While the elderly have been the main victims of Covid in health terms, without action, the younger generation will be the biggest loser economically and socially.
“Covid-19 has not only revealed the fragility of our healthcare system. It also revealed the fragility of our society. Urgent action is needed to place youth employment, education and skills at the heart of the government’s leveling agenda.
“The public wants companies to mobilize more actively to create new opportunities for people to move forward in life. That’s why we’ve been at the forefront of establishing a presence in the Midlands – not only creating employment opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds, but also creating expectation and a new path for that to happen. people are building future careers at PwC. “
Last fall, PwC recruited 275 new employees in the Midlands, including graduates, graduate tech apprentices, work placement students and school leavers, an increase of 23% from the previous fall. ‘last year.
PwC also welcomed 42 students into its third cohort of the Technology Learning Program in collaboration with the University of Birmingham, where students benefit from a fully funded degree, internships at PwC and employment beyond.