London, Feb 26 (IANS) Britain has become more middle class than working class in year 2000, according to social grading data.
The proportion of households working in non-manual professions was 50.6 percent at the turn of the millennium. It has since increased further, reaching 54.2 percent last year, the Guardian reported on Friday.
The figures compiled by Ipsos Mori from the National Readership Survey showed that in 1968, two-thirds of households were in the manual or lower-paid social grade bracket. But by 2015, the proportion of non-manual professions had shrunk to 45.8 percent.
Social grading divides up households based on the job of the highest income earner.
The grades range from A, people in upper managerial and professional roles, to E, which includes state pensioners, casual workers and the unemployed receiving state benefits.
Individual grades are usually grouped into brackets that combine several tiers, with lower-paid social grade bracket roughly described to be middle class, while non-manual professions are broadly working class.
Most of the change since 1968 has taken place in the middle brackets. Skilled manual workers used to be the grade encompassing highest proportion of the British households.
In the early 1990s, this group was overtaken by junior managers and professionals. Skilled manual workers have since also fallen behind intermediate roles of professionals.
Social grades provide a useful proxy for how most developed economies have changed over the past couple of generations with traditional blue collar jobs being supplanted by those in the service sector.
Class, of course, is a pretty intangible concept and a person’s occupation will not cover all the intricate social constructions associated with it. Moreover, other measurements exist. The government, for example, uses a much more detailed breakdown called the National Statistics-Socio-Economic Classification.
Nevertheless, social grades do remain an incredibly strong predictor of a person’s lifestyle. The higher a person’s social grade the more likely he/she is to earn more and spend more. This makes the grades a useful tool for marketers who want to pitch a product to a certain demographic.
Another one of these areas is political analysis.
For example, the largest electoral bloc in Britain are junior professionals. The Conservatives beat Labour among this grouping by some 15 points in both 2010 and 2015, suggesting that any future Labour success would probably need to close this particular gap.