The Class Ceiling

Why it Pays to be Privileged

Sam Friedman and Daniel Laurison

The Class Ceiling

Sam Friedman and Daniel Laurison

Distributed for Bristol University Press

256 pages | 5 x 7 3/4 | © 2018
Cloth $34.95 ISBN: 9781447336068 Published February 2019 For sale in North and South America only
Politicians continually tell us that anyone can get ahead. But is that really true? This important book takes readers behind the closed doors of elite employers to reveal how class affects who gets to the top. Friedman and Laurison show that a powerful ‘class pay gap’ exists in Britain’s elite occupations. Even when those from working-class backgrounds make it into prestigious jobs, they earn, on average, 16% less than colleagues from privileged backgrounds. But why is this the case? . Drawing on 175 interviews across four case studies - television, accountancy, architecture, and acting – they explore the complex barriers facing the upwardly mobile. This is a rich, ambitious book that demands we take seriously not just the glass but also the class ceiling.
Review Quotes
The Guardian
“Reading The Class Ceiling hit home in so many places I felt bruised by the end.”
 
Herald Scotland
“One of the most insightful works on the dynamics of inequality since Pickett and Wilkinson’s The Spirit Level a decade ago.”
 
The National
The Class Ceiling blows apart the myth of our supposed meritocracy.”
Annette Lareau, University of Pennsylvania
“This compelling book offers a fresh approach to understanding how social class matters. Easy to read, highly recommended!”
 
Mike Hout, New York University
“Friedman and Laurison show how it can possibly be that upwardly mobile executives and professionals earn less than those raised in the upper classes. Everybody in The Class Ceiling has a desirable job, but even in the upper reaches of British society, class roots matter.”
 
Diane Reay, University of Cambridge
“This stunning book provides a panoramic overview of class inequality in the UK labour market with a forensic scrutiny of the ways in which privilege works to keep the class ceiling firmly in place."
 
Selina Todd, University of Oxford
"A well-conceived and important study which makes a significant contribution to knowledge about social mobility, and an important intervention into broader political debates.”
Mike Savage, LSE
"Without question this is the most outstanding study of social mobility in the UK to have appeared in the past 20 years. Using a brilliant mixed method design, Friedman and Laurison trace the long shadow of class privilege in driving career prospects even in the supposedly dynamic sectors of today’s knowledge economy. Anyone who thinks Britain is a meritocracy needs to ponder the lessons of this wonderful book."
 
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://www.press.uchicago.edu
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