Employers should be banned from “auctioning life opportunities” – upReach

Commenting today on the publication of the Social Mobility Commission’s annual State of the Nation report[1], John Craven, Chief Executive of upReach, said: “The Commission rightly highlights the shockingly low percentage of those in top professions who are from working-class origins.[2] While some top graduate employers are trying harder than ever to attract young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, there is still much to be done to broaden career horizons, raise aspirations, remove recruitment bias and open up opportunities.”

“The role that Employers can play in improving social mobility is often underestimated. At a time when work experience and internships are essential to securing a graduate role[3], we support the Commission’s call for a ban on unpaid internships.”

“It is still common for pre-University work experience to be secured through contacts, disadvantaging those without the family or school networks that the more affluent have. Even more unfairly, opportunities are often auctioned to the highest bidder – whether it’s a $100,000 internship with Trump[4] or mini-pupillages with a leading criminal barrister[5], the career knowledge, experience and networking that these opportunities presents should be available on the basis of merit alone.”

“Today, upReach calls for employers to be banned from ‘auctioning life opportunities’ by selling the opportunity for work experience and internships to the highest bidder. A critical part of the answer to improving social mobility is opening up more professional work experience opportunities to those without the schooling, careers advice or family networks to secure them.[6]


For further information contact John Craven at upReach on 0797 127 4469 or john@upreach.org.uk


About upReach:

upReach are the social mobility charity that supports students from less-advantaged backgrounds to reach their potential, helping them secure top jobs in the graduate labour market. The charity partners with employers and universities to deliver a tailored programme of employability support to undergraduates. For more information, visit www.upreach.org.uk


[1] ‘State of the Nation Report 2016: Social Mobility in Great Britain’ is published today at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/state-of-the-nation-2016

[2] The report states that “Despite efforts in recent years to change the social make-up of the professions, only 4 per cent of doctors, 6 per cent of barristers and 11 per cent of journalists are from working-class origins” and notes “the continued importance attached to soft skills inherently gained from the social and cultural capital that comes with having a more privileged background.”

[3] The report states that “Work experience and internships have become the new ‘must have’ in the graduate labour market.”

[4] https://www.charitybuzz.com/catalog_items/1006911?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=CB%20Blast%204-19-2016&utm_term=Master%20Blast%20NEW

[5] http://www.legalcheek.com/2016/04/rich-parents-blocked-from-buying-kids-legal-work-experience-as-magic-circle-firms-withdraw-from-charity-auction/

[6] upReach partners with top firms such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch and KPMG to offer work experience opportunities for those without the networks to secure them.



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