A small group of universities control the majority of Britain’s best jobs, says Euan Blair
The best jobs in the workplace – and who gets them – are controlled by a small number of universities, which stifles diversity in the workplace, according to Euan Blair, chief executive of learning company Multiverse.
Speaking at the Evening Standard’s SME XPO event in London on Wednesday, Blair, the son of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, said the degrees had been used as a ‘filtering mechanism’ to the detriment of the hire the best people.
“In summary, we have essentially left the best jobs in the labor market, and who gets those best jobs, to be determined by a small group of academic institutions.
“It’s hugely problematic for society – it’s helped entrench inequality in the labor market,” he said.
Only 4% of people claiming free school meals go to a Russell Group university, he said, leading to a lack of social mobility in technology and professional services.
Multiverse trains apprentices for placement with employers in the UK and US in areas such as business operations, data science and software engineering and markets itself as an alternative to university.
He recently secured funding from companies such as Morgan Stanley, Amazon and Deloitte to train 5,000 apprentices for charities and small businesses that otherwise could not afford to hire them.
“I think what’s increasingly important for businesses large and small is to have access to diverse talent and to learn the skills they need,” Blair said.
“More than half of the apprentices we place are people of color, about a third come from the most economically marginalized communities, and 54% are women, including in technical roles.”
Employer attitudes are changing, he said.
“They have traditionally focused on hiring at universities because they assumed that was the only way to reach great talent. They are now realizing more and more that this is not the case.
He called on the government to urge schools to promote learning alongside the traditional university route, revise school league tables to show results other than exam results, and remove barriers to accessing education. learning such as grade requirements.
He said his own degrees – in ancient history and international relations – had been “absolutely useless” in his graduate work at investment bank Morgan Stanley.