This chapter examines the social mobility patterns found in eleven contemporary industrialized societies including Great Britain using the Goldthorpe class schema. It finds that substantial absolute rates of upward and downward mobility coexist alongside relative class mobility chances which have remained largely unchanged for twenty years. Class boundaries appear to be neither more nor less permeable now than in the preceding decades and sectoral shifts towards non-manual work have created additional ‘room at the top’. However, this was not accompanied by greater equality in opportunities to reach the top from social origins embodying different degrees of class advantage.
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