SMF & CAGE Briefing: The importance of education and skills in driving social mobility

Updated labour market statistics released later this month are likely to once again highlight the large earnings disparities apparent in the UK.

In this joint briefing by the Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE) and the Social Market Foundation, Dr Claire Crawford focused on one important determinant of these disparities – the socio-economic status of an individual’s parents – and how education and skills policy should be used to weaken these relationships and hence drive social mobility. She explored several issues including:

  • The stark disparities in access to our most selective education institutions and what we know about how to ‘widen’ access;
  • The importance of looking beyond these selective institutions to ensure we deliver high quality education and skills for individuals throughout the system;
  • How to ensure that the generation now entering the labour market has the skills necessary to succeed in their careers.
Read Dr Crawford’s Policy Report The UK’s ‘productivity crisis’: Why weakening the link between education and family background could help solve it
Watch the talk again here and view the slides here

Dr Claire Crawford
Research Associate, CAGE
Reader in Economics, University of Birmingham

James Kirkup
Director, Social Market Foundation
Claire is a Reader in Economics at the University of Birmingham and a Research Associate at CAGE. Her research focuses on the determinants of educational attainment and participation, especially in higher education. She is particularly interested in understanding what explains inequalities in these outcomes, and what schools, universities and policymakers can do to help reduce these gaps. Claire is also a Research Fellow of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

About CAGE:
Established in January 2010, CAGE is a research centre in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), CAGE is carrying out a 10-year programme of innovative research. Research at CAGE examines how and why different countries achieve economic success. CAGE defines ‘success’ in terms of well-being as well as productivity. The research uses economic analysis to address real-world policy issues. The centre is distinctive in providing a perspective that draws on economic history as well as economic theory and is applied to countries at various stages of economic development.