Why It Pays to be Privileged

RSA Event


Durham Street Auditorium, RSA House

  • Employment
  • Social justice
  • Social mobility

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Why and how is class background a defining factor in how our lives turn out?  

Social mobility is a goal often hailed by politicians and voters across the spectrum, but evidence shows that we’re falling short of the meritocratic ideal. The effects of social class are shown to follow us throughout our lives in intangible ways, dictating how we are perceived by others, opening or closing doors to elite jobs and education, and affecting our tendency to take risks. How can we ensure that privilege isn’t misread as merit, and reduce the impact of class on opportunity?

Sociologist Sam Friedman explores how privilege reproduces itself at the top, propelling advantaged people upwards and resulting in a significant class pay gap. He shares his research on the effects of social class on our earning potential and life prospects, and suggests ways we can work to counteract the effects of class inequality in our workplaces and our society.


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