Two thirds of retail professionals believe class is an issue when it comes to securing a new job.

According to a new study from CV-Library, the UK’s leading independent job board, two thirds (63%) of retail professionals think social class can be an issue for people when it comes to securing a job, with one in four (27.8%) admitting that they’ve felt discriminated against because of their class during their job search.

The study of 2,000 working professionals and 300 UK employers, asked retail professionals about the areas they felt discriminated against the most during their job search, with respondents citing their class (73.3%), where they’re from (46.7%), the way they speak (46.7%), the school or university they attended (40%) and where they live (20%) as the main factors.

Interestingly, 51% of employers in the industry think that discrimination around class is an issue when hiring, with the majority (92.9%) admitting that they can be bias when assessing job applications and during interviews. A staggering 75.9% of retail professionals also think employers are bias during job applications and interviews.  When asked about the areas they make pre-judgements on during the hiring process, employers in the retail industry admit that they do consider the way they speak (90%), their class (35.7%), where they’re from (28.6%) and the school or university they attended (21.4%).


Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library, comments: “Tackling discrimination around age, race, disability and gender have long been key focal points for companies, but little is talked about it in relation to social class. Our study highlights the disconnect between how workers and businesses feel about the issue in the retail sector and it’s clear that more needs to be done to raise awareness of its impact on both organisations and job hunters.

“The TUC has already called for stronger workplace rights to counter the class privilege that remains in Britain today, but businesses hold responsibility too. Ensuring that your recruitment process is fair for all applicants is crucial; especially if you’re already struggling to find the talent you need to fill your vacancies.

Alongside this, a staggering 83.3% of retail professionals think legal measures should be taken to tackle discrimination based on class at work; with 51% of employers agreeing. The study also asked employers whether they think companies should be forced to report any gaps in pay between workers from different social backgrounds, with 64.3% believing they shouldn’t.

Indeed, 57.1% of employers in the sector don’t think that someone’s social class has an impact on how much they get paid; which a further 59.3% of retail professionals agree with. Biggins continues: “Pushing more responsibility on businesses to stamp out class prejudice is certainly something the Government should be considering right now; particularly as the country is at risk of wasting the skills and resource of some of our most talented workers.”

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