Professional workers who are from a working class background are paid an average of £6,291, or 12%, less than employees from professional backgrounds for doing the same job.
This rises to £7,042 for women from working-class backgrounds when compared to those from professional backgrounds.
This “shameful secret” among Britain’s workplaces has been exposed in a new report from the Social Mobility Foundation.
It found that professional workers from professional backgrounds receive an average salary of £51,728 compared to those from working-class backgrounds, who earn an average of £45,737.
Rt. Hon Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility Foundation, said: “A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work is the least anyone should expect.
“But too many of Britain’s workplaces share a shameful secret. It cannot be right that professionals from working-class backgrounds are paid significantly less than their peers in the same occupation.”
Class Pay Gap Day
Today marks the Foundation’s Class Pay Gap Day, the day which those from working-class backgrounds effectively work for free for the rest of the year, when their salaries are compared to those from professional backgrounds.
In the private sector, where 82% of the UK’s workforce sit, the gap was larger, with those from working-class backgrounds paid £7,575 less per year than someone from a professional background.
Outside of the private sector workers from working-class backgrounds are paid an average of £4,750 less.
The Foundation also found that 72% of those aged 16 to 18 were put off applying for jobs in elite professions such as law or finance by the class pay gap. While 89% said they would be more enthusiastic about working for a company that prioritised social mobility.
‘Businesses need diversity of talent and thought’
Kevin Ellis, senior partner at PwC UK, said: “The gap in pay between professionals from a lower socio-economic background and their more privileged peers, is not only a societal issue but an issue for business and the economy.
“Businesses need diversity of talent and thought. We’ve seen the benefits of improving the diversity of our workforce – you can’t measure this without collecting socioeconomic background data. Gathering data helps you understand what interventions to make because these changes don’t happen naturally.
“We always strive to do more – so it’s positive to see other employers now starting to collect data and making efforts to close their socioeconomic background pay gaps.”