The Role of Family in Social Mobility

We are proud to launch our report in to the role of the family in social mobility today. In partnership with Newcastle University and using data from the Cupesse research.

Family Matters

Available from today The Role of the Family in Social Mobility: Impact of Family Resources on Young People’s Progression identifies:

  • young people whose families had economic and cultural capital were more likely to be dependant and less ambitious, whilst young people who received less family support were more independent.
  • that the current generation of young people is more likely to rely on parents for financial support than the parental generation
  • that parental attitudes towards the value of work affects young people’s ambitions. Young people whose parents showed them that work and money are connected had a clearer and more concrete ambition to become economically independent of their parents compared with those whose parents did not make this direct link
  • exactly how parental capital is transferred and transformed to young people. Parental economic capital is transformed into young people’s cultural capital by the parents paying for education. Where parents have social capital (trust and good quality networks), this is transformed to economic capital among their children who have more money available than those whose parents do not have social capital.

As young people face the prospect of downward social mobility for the first time we look at how the family and the resources available to them help and hinder young people’s progression. We explore the risks involved with the situation staying the same and launch our recommendations for overcoming the issues.

Youth Employment UK CEO, Laura Jane Rawlings said

“We have always known that the role of the family matters in a young person’s ability to fulfill their potential. For two decades we have discussed social mobility and tried to reduce the inequalities experienced by young people. We know that the policy reforms are not working and this report and recommendations call on the need for the communities around our young people to take bolder and braver action if we are ever to see a real change. If we really want Britain and its young people to achieve potential we must as a community step up.”

Dr Emily Rainsford, Research Associate in Politics at Newcastle University

“Some young people are facing bigger challenges than others in the labour market, and a lot of it has to do with the resources their family has. It’s not surprising many turn to their parents for help. The jobs market is risky and family support can soften the ground.

This research really drills in to the mechanisms of what works in families. It shows that families are important for fostering trust, attitudes to work and ambition and passing on the networks that lead to better paying jobs. It also shows how resources are concentrated and reproduced in families leading to an exaggeration of intergenerational inequalities. By knowing exactly what parents do to help young people get on in life we make recommendations for how the rest of the community can step up and help those who do not have the family resources to support them. ”

We  used data from the project Cultural Pathways to Economic Self-sufficiency and Entrepreneurship (CUPESSE), a collaborative EU funded project between 11 countries. The UK data consists of a representative sample of 3,000 young people aged between 18 to 35, and 450 parent and child pairs as well as conducted in-depth interviews with three generations of the same family in the Northeast of England.

Next steps: 

  • Get in touch if you want to know more about the project, our findings or how you can support
  • Find out how you can support young people and improve your processes by becoming a Community Member of Youth Employment UK
  • Already doing great things? Apply for the Talent Match Mark here

 

For further information: Contact us by phone on 01536 680916 or email us at info@youthemployment.org.uk

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