Young people are the most pessimistic about their chances of moving up in society with just 1 in 7 thinking their generation has the most opportunity to do so, new research shows.

Published to coincide with the launch of the Social Mobility Commission, the survey revealed deep unease in Britain about the gap between the rich and the poor. It shows that people think the government, employers and schools are doing too little to help the less advantaged get a fair chance in life.

The findings show just 15% of 18 to 24 year olds think their generation has the best chance of moving up in society. Just 13% say their generation will have the best standard of living, and 12% believe they will fare best in terms of personal finances, compared to older generations.

The social mobility barometer polls of over 5,000 people and is carried out by YouGov. The Social Mobility Barometer 2018 report discloses that the over 65s are much more likely to think that apprenticeships offer the best opportunity for progression, compared to the young people that many of these roles are aimed at. Younger people, in comparison, thought higher education offered a better opportunity.

Dame Martina Milburn, Chair of the Social Mobility Commission said:

If we fail to act too many young people will continue to face challenges getting into colleges, universities and employment. We all need to do more to tackle these issues, but there needs to be renewed focus from government, educators and employers.

40% of people think it is getting harder for those from disadvantaged backgrounds to move up in society. Over half of the respondents think central government should be doing more to improve social mobility, followed by local government, (39%) schools (36%) and employers (36%).

Dame Martina will announce that the government has allocated an extra £2 million to commission new research and evidence from next April, as she introduces her 12 new commissioners at the relaunch who bring a range of expertise from across education, business and academia.