KPMG: social class and nepotism are major factors in obtaining work experience

A KPMG survey of 2,000 young people suggests that social class and nepotism have a major influence on their ability to access work experience.

The survey revealed that young people from low socio-economic backgrounds were less likely to have gained work experience (40%) compared to the average for young people in all socio-economic groups (47%). Additionally, 71% of respondents considered it to be easier to get into certain professions, such as law, medicine and accountancy, if they had a parent or guardian who worked in a similar profession. Of those who obtained work experience, 45% had been arranged by a family member or friend, while 30% had been arranged via their school.

Commenting on the findings, Jon Holt, Chief Executive at KPMG in the UK, suggested that this uneven playing field was ruling out talented individuals at an early stage. He called on businesses to play an active role in changing this by offering young people the opportunity to gain work experience, adding that ‘to help the next generation succeed, we need to equip them with skills that are highly valued in the workplace, such as problem-solving and creative thinking’.

In December 2022, KPMG published ‘progression gap’ analysis in which it considered the career paths of over 16,500 partners and employees at the company over five years. This suggested that class and socio-economic background (measured by parental occupation) have a greater impact on career progression than any other diversity characteristic.

Source: KPMG: Social class could be holding young people back from their preferred career, new research finds (13 June 2023)