Schools must do more to help young people from poorer backgrounds – including making sure that they get good careers guidance.
That’s according to a new report by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, which found that less able, better off children are 35% more likely to become high earners than bright but less well off children.
Family income and social background plays a big part in how much a young person will earn in later life, despite ability or qualifications, the report found.
Middle-class parents create a “glass floor” to protect their children, by investing in their education, providing better careers advice and putting higher value on skills like leadership and self confidence.
Alan Milburn, chair of the commission, says: "No one should criticise parents for doing the best for their children. That’s what we all want.
"But Britain is a very long way from being a meritocratic society when the less able can do better in life than the more able."
Mr Milburn adds: "The government should make its core mission the levelling of the playing field so that every child in the country has an equal opportunity to go as far as their abilities can take them."
The report urges the government to make sure that children from less advantaged backgrounds have access to the same opportunities as their peers – including good careers information and guidance, mentoring and a "rich set of opportunities to understand the world of work."
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