This tweet caught my eye this morning.

I went looking for the missing context and saw that Leila’s tweet was in relation to an article today in the Telegraph regarding James Caan’s appointment as Social Mobility Tzar.

He makes many points I strongly agree with, such as:

People from deprived backgrounds can be massively impactful on business – they have more to prove, they are more driven, more determined. In my own experience it was not easy, you always have to do that bit extra to stand out. You are hiring somebody to whom that opportunity is more valuable

But in the article he also argues that you shouldn’t use your position of influence to give your children an unfair advantage in the job market

I get the point about not handing everything to your kids on a silver platter, that they need to work hard for themselves and not rely on you. I really do. Everyone I know who has made a decent chunk of money worries about how it’ll negatively impact their childrens drive and ambition.

But what parent wouldn’t want to give their kids a boost in the right direction? If I’ve worked hard and made a modest success of myself from a “deprived” background then damn right I’m going to use that to my daughters’ advantage. I used the argument on Twitter that I’m not going to avoid giving them the best education I can afford just because of the “macro effect” on society as a whole. To me, it’s the same principle.

The article and tweets on the subject conflate what an employer should/shouldn’t do – which I largely agree with –  with what a parent should/shouldn’t do – which I strongly disagree with.

By all means do all you can to help your child get an interview for a role. But fully expect the employer – regardless of your connection to her – to treat your childs application the same they would any other.

In fact, I’ve been in exactly that position before. James and I have a mutual connection with Lord Young. Lord Young once used his position as my chairman and business partner to get a relative in front of me for a job interview. But there was never any expectation that the job would be handed to him just because of the connection – and it wasn’t.


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