Despite the increase in skilled employment, one quarter of people feel downwardly mobile compared with their father
Over a generation, the social structure has changed for the better, with, most notably, a growing proportion of managerial personnel. Thus, in 2014/2015, almost four out of ten people in the 30 to 59 age group believe that their professional level or status is higher or much higher than that of their father. Conversely, one quarter of people feel they are downwardly mobile.
This belief is based mainly on their occupation, background and social trajectory. Thus, 36% of blue-collar and unskilled workers, and 53% of people with a lower social status than their father, feel they have moved down the social ladder. The feeling of downward mobility, like that of upward mobility, affects people of all social backgrounds: Some one in five executives feel that their social status is lower than that of their father; around one in five employees or blue-collar workers feel they have attained a higher social status than their father.
The feeling of downward mobility among employees and blue-collar workers varies considerably, from 16% to 45%. This can be explained by differences in working conditions, pay, and professional prestige.
Women are more likely than men to feel downwardly mobile compared with their father (27% vs. 23%), due to their less favourable position in the labour market. However, compared with their mother, only 11% feel they are downwardly mobile, reflecting the substantial changes in the role of women in the labour market over a generation.