Britain’s ‘lack of social mobility’ prompts global foundation to hand UK charities £1.1m

The foundation of a global tech firm has handed more than £1m to UK charities to improve disadvantaged people’s job prospects because “social mobility tends to be more limited in the UK”.

US based company Cognizant’s foundation has handed grants totalling £1.1m to charities, the Prince’s Trust, the Social Mobility Foundation, Raspberry Pi Foundation and The Forces Employment Charity (TechVets) as well as community interest company Code First Girls.

The focus of the funding is to promote opportunities in technology careers among excluded and underserved groups in the UK through developing digital and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills.

A major factor behind the move is a lack of social mobility in Britain, compared to the rest of Europe, which is blighting attempts to recover from the economic impact of the Covid pandemic, says the funder.

“Covid-19 has widened not only the existing racial wealth gap, but also the systemic gaps in education and earning potential that are driven by gender and geography,” said the foundation

“Furthermore, social mobility tends to be more limited in the UK compared to other European countries—signalling less opportunity for the pandemic’s negative trends to be corrected in the long term.”

Cognizant’s foundation cites research by Goldman Sachs which found that the UK’s is “pretty poor on most metrics on social mobility and things have actually deteriorated further in the last few years”.

This research says factors in the UK’s poor social mobility is the “significant earning premium” given to graduate jobs, historic regional income differences and the lack of a progressive tax system, as seen in countries including Denmark, Finland and Norway.

“To be successful in an evolving global economy, individuals must have an equitable opportunity to develop digital and STEM skills, as well as necessary support to enter—and stay—in industries like tech,” said Cognizant president of global markets Rob Walker

“Our foundation’s investment in these five organisations reflects Cognizant's steadfast commitment to advancing economic mobility and expanding access to high-quality tech training and STEM education in communities across the globe.”

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