How To Break Into The Elite

Ep 1/1

Monday 29 July

9.00pm-10.00pm

BBC TWO

NEW
How much does class still matter in Britain’s elite professions? Is working hard enough, or are your chances in life still determined by where you come from?

In this one-hour documentary, the BBC’s media editor Amol Rajan (pictured right) spends time with graduates from very different backgrounds at that crucial moment: when university ends and the job search begins.

Amol explores both ends of the scale, as Amaan and Elvis, two working-class lads who have their sights set on becoming city boys, struggle to nail down the interviews that will give them that crucial ‘foot in the door’. Leeds students Dominique and Jack also find out ‘it’s not what you know it’s who you know’, as they seek careers in the media industry, whose mystifying cultural codes prove an obstacle to many candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds.

So what factors can help you break into the elite? Privately-educated Ben seems to perform confidently on a work experience placement, while others, like Amaan, appear to struggle in an interview scenario - suggesting confidence is hard to find if society doesn’t validate the way you look and behave.

When it comes to top professions, the London School of Ecomonic’s Sam Friedman explains that grads from working-class backgrounds with top degrees are much less likely to get elite jobs than their more privileged counterparts.

So how does this all tally with Amol’s own experience? Coming from relatively humble beginnings as the son of Indian immigrants, he now has the career in media that he used to dream about. He turns to his first boss, Talk Radio’s Matthew Wright, to find out how he got the gig.

Matthew, who turns out to be a bit of a class warrior himself, explains he was looking for another ‘ordinary bloke’ in an industry dominated by elites.

MH