Young UK Muslims face social mobility barriers

A new report by the Social Mobility Commission (SMC) has found that young Muslims living in the UK are facing enormous social mobility challenges.

Analysing barriers to improved social mobility for young Muslims in education and employment, the report states that young people from Pakistani and Bangladeshi experience the greatest economic disadvantages of any faith group in UK society, despite more likely to succeed in education and go on to university than other groups of the same age.

Social mobility challenges faced by young Muslims reveals that 19.8 per cent of the Muslim population, aged between 16-74, are in full-time employment, compared to 34.9 per cent of the overall population, with 18 per cent of Muslim women of the same age bracket economically inactive, compared with six per cent of the overall population.

The report recommends that the Department for Education should put in place a careers strategy that promotes informed and inclusive choices by pupils, free from stereotypical assumptions, and that business bodies should promote greater awareness and take-up of good unconscious bias, diversity, religious literacy and cultural competence training by employers.

Alan Milburn, chair of the SMC, said: “This report paints a disturbing picture of the challenges they face to making greater social progress. Young Muslims themselves identify cultural barriers in their communities and discrimination in the education system and labour market as some of the principal obstacles that stand in their way. Young Muslim women face a specific challenge to maintain their identity while seeking to succeed in modern Britain.

“These are complex issues and it is vital they are the subject of mature consideration and debate. It is particularly important to hear from young people from the Muslim community and respond positively to them. There are no easy or straightforward solutions to the issues they have raised. But a truly inclusive society depends on creating a level playing field of opportunity for all, regardless of gender, ethnicity or background. That will require renewed action by government and communities, just as it will by educators and employers.”

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