Social Mobility: UK Teenagers Cynical about Prospects

'Smart phone' generation skeptical about future prospects, report shows.

‘Smart phone’ generation skeptical about future prospects, report shows.

A recent report has shown that a majority of UK teenagers feel that they are not likely to continue the upward trend of social mobility that previous generations were able to attain.

The report, released by the Young foundation, also shows that only half of UK teenagers feel that school has prepared them for the world of work.


The highly regarded foundation conducted a survey of 500 teenagers across the UK, questioning them about their feelings about social mobility and future employment prospects.

Only half of all participants agreed that they had a better chance to succeed than their parents, with the other half of teenagers feeling that the financial climate that they will inherit is truncating their chances to succeed.

Additionally, only 51% of British teens felt that their education and experience at school had prepared them for the world of work.

Experts are blaming large scale cuts to the education sector for this rise in pessimism among British youth. T

he austerity drive being propagated by the coalition government has led to tuition fee increases to £9,000, leaving many without the option for higher education. It’s no wonder that young people are sceptical about their chances for social advancement when they see windows of higher education closing to them.

In conjunction with this, the harsh economy has made firms reluctant to hire younger people with little to no experience, leaving youth unemployment to skyrocket. Teenagers who cannot afford higher education are often left searching for jobs with firms who do not want them.

School leavers

Many young people who left school before their exams are finding themselves in a tough economy without training in a practical vocation, adding to high unemployment numbers.

Currently, youth unemployment rings in at about 20%, which directly conflicts with the coalition government’s flagship platform of improving social mobility while scaling back government intervention.

While government interention has been scaled back through spending cuts in the Child Benefit, tuition, and the education sector, young people in the real world know this has done nothing to improve their chances for social mobility.

The government has tried to introduce non-intervening programmes to improve social mobility, including launching the Junior ISA as a way for families to save for their children tax-free.

Families who cannot afford to contribute substantial amounts in savings still have an important role to play in today’s economy, experts say. As youth employment reaches an all time high, it is becoming ever more crucial that young people receive support from their families when facing grim employment prospects.

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