Ethnicity, gender and occupational mobility in an escalator region

Margaret Byron and Keith Hoggart, King's College London

[Project number 30019]

Early work by Heath and Ridge (1983) and Robinson (1989) on differences in social mobility across ethnic groups in England and Wales is put in a new light by Tony Fielding's LS work (e.g. 1992) that demonstrated how South East England was an escalator region for social mobility in the period 1971-1981. Extending this project with Susan Halford (1999) to the 1981-1991 period, this escalator effect was shown to be particularly important for women moving into managerial positions, with rates of upward mobility higher for women than men who migrated into SE England. This proposal seeks to link the above analyses by (a) exploring the period 1991-2001, when more ethnic minority workers were British-born than in earlier decades, and (b) examining social mobility differences for self-declared ethnic groups taking account of escalator region effects. The analysis will focus on the three 'regions' of London, the rest of the South East and the rest of England and Wales. The analysis will take account of LS Member age and migration into/out of a 'region'. Depending on numbers, attention will focus on the main ethnic categories declared in the Census. If a 189,000 cut-off at the 2001 Census is used, this provides the following categories - Bangladeshi, Black-African, Black-Caribbean, Chinese, Indian, Mixed-White-Black-Caribbean, Pakistani, Mixed-White-Asian, White-British and White-Irish (if given age, gender and regional differences, these cut-offs are too small, fewer groups will be examined). The principal question for the proposal is whether the South East is an escalator region for all ethnic groups once gender and age are taken into account. In order to cover questions of difference between immigrants and longer standing residents, we would make a comparison by ethnic group of those aged 26-65 who were registered at the 2001 Census but not at the 1991 Census, hence checking if those not in the UK in 1991 had dis/similar occupations to those of the same gender, ethnicity and 'region' who were in both the 1991 and 2001 Censuses.

The LS is the only data source that will allow the tracing of the same people over time, so their social mobility can be checked. Given the delineations of ethnicity used in the 2001 Census were new, 2001 data provides for a potentially more fine-tuned exploration of ethnic differences that, given ethnicity is self-declared, can be linked to LS Member circumstances in 1991.