Graduates still face financial background discrimination, TUC report finds

Graduates from a wealthier background are twice as likely to start on a £30,000 salary compared to their working-class counter-parts.

This research comes from a new Trade Union Congress (TUC) report called ‘Building Working Class Power: How to address inequality’, the TUC is also calling for new legal measures to tackle class discrimination at the workplace in order to prevent the UK from “wasting skills and talent”.

It was also found that those from working-class backgrounds had a higher chance of being paid below the real Living Wage than those from a higher socio-economic background, with 27 per cent chance of this happening to working-class people compared to 17 per cent of those from wealthier backgrounds.

Women from working-class backgrounds earn 36 per cent less than men from richer backgrounds, a difference of £16,000, despite working in similar areas.

The TUC believes without these laws people will continue to face discrimination such as employer bias during job applications and interviews. As well as indirect forms of discrimination like unpaid internships as a gateway in to jobs.

Due to this the TUC says that stronger workplace rights are needed to tackle class privilege.

The TUC is calling on the Government to:

  • Make discrimination on the basis of class unlawful, just like race, gender and disability
  • Introduce a legal duty on public bodies to make tackling all forms of class and income inequality a priority
  • Make it compulsory for employers to report their class pay gaps.


Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary said:

If you’re from a working-class family, the odds are still stacked against you.

Everyone knows that getting that dream job is too often a case of who you know, not what you know.

I want to issue a challenge to politicians. It’s high time we banned discrimination against working class people.

This country is wasting some of our best skills and the talent. And if we don’t get change fast, it’s not just workers who will lose out – Britain will.

Let’s have a new duty on employers to stamp out class prejudice once and for all.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.