Professions including medicine, law should be doing more to recruit people from poorer backgrounds, a report is set to say Wednesday.
Alan Milburn, the former Labour minister who is the government’s social mobility advisor, wrote in the Guardian that professions were making “no great galvanising effort” to broaden their talent pool.
“There’s a series of barriers that, maybe inadvertently, the professions put in the way of those with ability and aptitude from a variety of backgrounds getting even the first foot career on the ladder into the professions,” Milburn told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“It’s partially about how they provide work experience opportunities, internships, their recruitment processes, where they recruit from,” he added.
He is urging a drive to provide internship schemes for youngsters from working-class backgrounds and state schools.
Milburn noted that the legal sector is making an attempt to widen intake but said that the “further up the profession you go, the more socially exclusive it becomes.”
Journalism was also accused of becoming a “degree-only profession,” which did “not seem to take the issue of fair access seriously.”
Representatives of professions insisted that steps are being taken to open up opportunities to a wider range of candidates, although more work needs to be done.
“Professions are now much more aware of the need for, and value of, diversifying both their membership and their routes of entry,” said Louis Armstrong, chairman of the organisation Professions for Good.
“Many professions now have a range of ways to join and qualify, including non-graduate routes,” he added.