Posh solicitors pocket almost £7,000 more than ‘working class’ colleagues

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By Thomas Connelly on

Profession dominated by those from “advantaged backgrounds”, says government-backed report


New research has revealed that posh solicitors could be earning almost £7,000 more than their “working class” counterparts.

The Social Mobility Commission (SMC) — a government body that promotes and monitors progress in social mobility — has published data that suggests solicitors from “affluent backgrounds” will take home on average £6,800 more than colleagues from “poorer” ones.

These findings draw upon almost 65,000 data samples taken from the UK Labour Force Survey (LFS), which covers a range of professions including law.

Backed by the government, the report also found that, in comparing colleagues with the same level of education, the same job role and the same level of experience, those from poorer backgrounds still pocket on average £2,242 (7%) less.

The SMC has put forward a number of possible explanations for this pay disparity. It says that those from disadvantaged backgrounds are “less likely to ask for pay rises, have less access to networks and work opportunities or, in some cases, exclude themselves from promotion for fear of not ‘fitting in’.” Continuing, it states:

Other explanations for the ‘class pay gap’ could include conscious or unconscious discrimination or more subtle employment processes which lead to ‘cultural matching’ in the workplace.

In addition to the pay gap, the stats also show that access to “traditional professions” such as law “remain dominated by those from advantaged backgrounds”. According to the SMC, just 13% of solicitors are working class, while almost two thirds (62%) are from “professional and managerial” families.

Research undertaken by the educational think tank Sutton Trust and social mobility network PRIME supports the SMC’s findings.

Published back in 2015, this data revealed that the upper echelons of the legal profession are dominated by the privately educated. Nationally, the study found that 32% of law firm partners attended private school, rising to 41% when London firms are examined in isolation. In the magic circle, it’s an eye-watering 50%.

Read the SMC report in full below:

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