Job snobbery in the UK is hampering efforts to fill skills shortages and boost productivity, according to a new report.
A poll of 2,500 people by The Work Foundation, commissioned for the report, finds the views of peers have an enormous impact on people’s choice of work.
Half the respondents under 30 said they were influenced by the views of family and friends when it came to choosing where they worked. Asked if they would take a job with good career prospects in the quick-service restaurant sector, two-thirds said no.
The Work Foundation's report shows that jobs in the service sector boast some of the most innovative training programmes in the UK today, but are often much maligned. It says jobs in the sector are providing communication and teamwork skills that the country is crying out for.
The report also warns that failure to take notice of the career progression and social mobility engendered by service sector employers could damage attempts to raise productivity.
Andy Westwood, head of policy research and author of Are we being served? Career mobility and skills in the UK workforce, said employers such as McDonald’s and Asda dig into some of the country’s most difficult and marginalised labour markets, but simultaneously boast some of the most far-reaching development programmes.
“The UK seems to have a blind spot towards these leaders who take vast numbers of people from little or no skills to high skills,” he said. “These organisations emphatically do not offer the dead end jobs so often associated with the service sector. In fact, they are bucking our increasingly poor trends in economic and social mobility.
“On the eve of the Government’s Skills Strategy, it is clear that we can all learn from the way the service sector approaches training and development. The value of these skills and their training programmes is high. If we continue undermining them, the battle to narrow the UK’s productivity gap will become much harder.”