Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Middle class benefits the most from post-1992 university expansion

28.02.2012
Initiatives by successive governments to provide better access to higher education for young people from less-privileged backgrounds have failed according to Understanding Society, the world's largest longitudinal study. Findings show just a five per cent increase in degrees among children of routine and manual workers.

An analysis of the social backgrounds of almost 34,000 adults between the ages of 22-49, compiled by the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex, reveal that it is the children of the middle classes, and not the working classes, that have benefited the most from the expansion of higher education over the last 15 years.

Using new research from Understanding Society, a longitudinal study of 40,000 UK households, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), researchers examined two age groups within the study. Amongst 37-49 year olds, just over a quarter hold a degree; for the post-expansion generation, 22-34 year olds, over a third of this generation have a first degree – a rise between the two age groups of 8.6 per cent. However, an analysis of the socio-economic background of the respondents – measured as their parent's occupation at age 14 - reveals that this increase is not evenly distributed across social classes. It finds:

For those with parents who held 'managerial and professional' jobs when the respondent was 14, the rise in participation in higher education is 10 per cent

For those with parents who had 'intermediate occupations' (typically clerical and sales jobs or those running small businesses) the increase in the proportion with a degree shown between the two age groups is over 11 per cent

For those whose parents that hold 'routine and manual occupations', the growth in the proportion with a degree is only five per cent.

It is the children of white collar workers that account for the major increase in people attending university in recent years. These are children of school teachers, nurses, administrative grade civil service jobs and high level technicians – jobs which did not require a degree 20 to 30 years ago but which are now regarded as graduate or middle class jobs.

One of the co-authors of the study, Professor Peter Elias, from the University of Warwick, comments: "The findings reflect in part the restructuring of the UK economy over the last 40 years, which has seen a decline in manual occupations and an increase in white collar jobs. Nonetheless, given the remarkable increase in the participation of young people in higher education that has taken place over the last 20 years, the brief analysis presented here reveals little evidence that the much vaunted policy ambition - to provide better access to higher education to those from less privileged backgrounds - has been successful."

For further information contact

To contact Professor Peter Elias please email Kate Purcell
Email: Kate.Purcell@warwick.ac.uk
Telephone +44 (0)2476 523 288
ESRC Press Office:
Victoria Morrisroe
Email: victoria.morrisroe@esrc.ac.uk
Telephone 01793 413163
Jeanine Woolley
Email: jeanine.woolley@esrc.ac.uk
Telephone 01793 413119
Notes for editors:
1. Peter Elias is a Professor at the Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick. He has acted as the Strategic Advisor for Data Resources to the ESRC since 2004. The findings above are taken from the article 'Higher Education and Social background' from 'Understanding Society: Findings 2012'.

2. Understanding Society is a world leading study of the socio-economic circumstances in 40,000 UK households. The study allows for deeper analysis of a wide range of sections of the population as they respond to regional, national and international change. Understanding Society will greatly enhance our insight into the pathways that influence peoples longer term occupational trajectories; their health and well-being, their financial circumstances and personal relationships. Understanding Society also breaks new ground with its interdisciplinary focus. The study will capture biomedical data on 20,000 participants and place this alongside rich social histories, helping us weigh the extent to which people's environment influences their health. More information is available at www.understandingsociety.org.uk

3. Understanding Society has been commissioned by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and is supported by a total of 11 Government departments and administrations. The Research Team is led by the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex. The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) delivers the study.

4. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC's total budget for 2011/12 is £203 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes. More at www.esrc.ac.uk

Press Office | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>