Spotlight on: social mobility in the student and graduate market

This year, Milkround’s annual Candidate Compass report revealed different career mindsets between students who were eligible for free school meals during their education, and those who were not.

As an employer, diversity must always be highly prioritised. A workforce consisting of a range of employees with diverse social experiences increases productivity, so it’s essential your recruitment process appeals to a wide spectrum of candidates. To craft an appropriate recruitment strategy, it first needs to be understood that socio-economic status affects career perceptions.

We asked over 5,000 students and graduates whether they received free school meals during secondary education. Our findings showed that free school meal respondents (FSM) placed weight on different influences when it came to deciding on their future career paths, in comparison to non-FSM students.

41% of our FSM respondents claimed their family significantly influenced their career decisions. The role family played was second only to that of a candidate’s personal interests, at 43%.

A much larger percentage (63%) of non-FSM students listed their own interests as their biggest influence. 40% also listed their degree topic and 39% claimed reading job descriptions online impacted their career choices. The discrepancy between family and a candidate’s own interests was much greater for non-FSM students (the former fell behind by 28%).

top career choice influences.JPG

From this, we can infer that FSM respondents rely significantly on their family for information when it comes to jobs. They also place greater weight on their careers service (40%), showing they actively seek a broad range of opinions when making their own career plans.

It also seems socio-economic background has implications for career confidence. Only 19% of our FSM respondents are optimistic about their future career prospects, versus 56% of non-FSM respondents. 67% of FSM respondents also feel pessimistic about their future salary.

The best ways to reach candidates from lower socio-economic backgrounds, who may be the first in their family to consider university or a particular career path, is to connect with them. By hosting or attending events inclusive to individuals from traditionally low-income areas of the country, or specific schools and universities, you can educate and engage students who may not have considered certain career paths previously.

To find out more about the events Milkround hosts, our reports, or to discuss a tailored recruitment campaign, give us a call on 020 3003 4000, or email info@milkround.com.

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