A study into more than 2,000 UK job seekers has showed that employers must refine their social mobility initiatives to achieve a fair recruitment process for all

An edtech startup called Forage, which provides free virtual job simulations, has looked into the social mobility challenges that the current generation is facing. 

The report revealed a systematic failure in the finding and nurturing of talent. Despite a UK record high of 1.2 million job vacancies in the three months to November 2021, more than 50 percent of job seekers from low socioeconomic backgrounds said that they feel overlooked in the UK job market in comparison to their peers.

The report says that despite the number of social mobility initiatives undertaken by employers, getting a job after university is not an equal journey for all.

Forage CEO and co-founder, Tom Brunskill, said employers needed to solve the problem rather than ignore it. He said: “For too long, employers have talked the talk, without walking the walk when it comes to creating an even playing field. It’s time for industry to embrace their responsibility as the custodians of economic opportunity and realise they can play an influential role in driving social mobility.”

54 percent of Forage’s study participants identified as minority ethnic, 30 percent reported as being either a refugee, asylum seeker or migrant and 83 percent said that they attended non-fee paying schools in the UK.

When asked what employers should be doing, participants said: 


  • Incorporate blind interviews into the recruitment process – with no names or questions about ethnicity
  • Provide more skilling opportunities for those from low socioeconomic backgrounds
  • Transition away from an over-reliance on hires from Russell Group universities to level the playing field


In spite of government initiatives like the socio-economic diversity and inclusion employers’ toolkit and industries across the board experiencing staff shortages, the UK is ranked 21st on the global social mobility index, well behind most European countries. 

Forage recommends that employers refine their social mobility initiatives by starting engagement from as early as secondary school. It says younger people need to be inspired with the confidence to ‘pursue new or seemingly unattainable career paths’.

It also suggests using measures other than university or GPA such as intent, ability and engagement. It says the older methods can be more indicative of socioeconomic access than role performance.