Why It’s Time To Smash The Class Ceiling – One ‘Work Voice’ At A Time

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  • Here's a nice piece of cheery news (note: we're being sarcastic) - turns out, it's not just our vaginas holding us back in our careers. In fact, there's a class ceiling to break through, too.

    Your palms are sweaty and you can feel your neck turning 20 different shades of red. But, you remind yourself, it’ll be OK. You’ve got this. You’ve rehearsed your answers in the shower, you’ve done this job a trillion times before. You’re ready for this role, and what’s more – you’re right for it.

    So why, fifteen minutes later, do you find yourself weeping in the toilets, because you just found out you didn’t make it through to the next stage of the interview process?

    Turns out, it probably isn’t you. It’s just your voice.

    Yep, forget the glass ceiling (briefly) – this week it’s all about the class ceiling, as a new, official report has discovered that many top firms and businesses in London impose a secret ‘poshness test’ upon prospective employees, to see whether they’re elite enough for the brand.

    Examining whether graduates have travelled extensively, sound like they were born in the BBC Radio 4 headquarters, or have attended the right kind of school are all ways in which leading companies weed out the lower classes, the report found.

    In fact (and this is the truly horrifying bit) as many as 70 per cent of job offers last year were made to those who had been educated a selective state or private school, although they made up only 4 per cent and 7 per cent of the population as a whole.

    And while we’re having a great time imagining what some of the more sneaky questions in the ‘poshness test’ could be (‘Exactly how many suppers have you shared with a direct relative of the Middleton family?’ / ‘When did you last cut out a picture of Hugh Grant circa 1999 and take it into the hairdressers for inspiration?’ / ‘Is your nanny on speeddial?’), it’s a serious (albeit elitist) business.

    After all, if we want our government to represent our whole country (rather than just, y’know, Eton), then it’s absolutely crucial for men and women from all backgrounds to be afforded the same opportunities – regardless of whether or not they pronounce ‘bath’ like ‘bARGHth’.

    One employer took the oh-so-brave step of acknowledging the fact that he might be missing out on some talented people – but justified it by claiming “the problem boils down almost to a budgetary one . . . how much mud do I have to sift through in that population to find that diamond?”

    The answer being, of course, not very much at all, you stuck up [insert insult of your choice here].

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