The Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to be Privileged

The Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to be Privileged

by Sam Friedman, Daniel Laurison


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Politicians continually tell us that anyone can get ahead. But is that really true? This important book takes readers behind the closed doors of elite employers to reveal how class affects who gets to the top. Friedman and Laurison show that a powerful ‘class pay gap’ exists in Britain’s elite occupations. Even when those from working-class backgrounds make it into prestigious jobs, they earn, on average, 16% less than colleagues from privileged backgrounds. But why is this the case? . Drawing on 175 interviews across four case studies - television, accountancy, architecture, and acting - they explore the complex barriers facing the upwardly mobile. This is a rich, ambitious book that demands we take seriously not just the glass but also the class ceiling.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781447336068
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Publication date: 02/28/2019
Edition description: 1
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 757,532
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Sam Friedman is assistant professor in sociology at the London School of Economics. He is cofounder of the Stratification and Culture Research Network. Daniel Laurison is assistant professor at Swarthmore College. Previously he was at the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

Table of Contents

List of figures and tables vii

Acknowledgements ix

Note on language usage xiii

Introduction 1

1 Getting in 29

2 Getting on 45

3 Untangling the class pay gap 57

4 Inside elite firms 71

5 The Bank of Mum and Dad 87

6 A helping hand 109

7 Fitting in 123

8 View from the top 145

9 Self-elimination 171

10 Class ceilings: A new approach to social mobility 185

11 Conclusion 209

Epilogue: 10 ways to break the class ceiling With Nik Miller, Chief Executive, The Bridge Croup 229

Methodological appendix 239

Notes 285

References 321

Index 359

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