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Social mobility challenges faced by young Muslims in the UK

Social mobility changes


Professor Jacqueline Stevenson, Muna Abdi, Sean Demack and Bernie Stiell (SIoE); Farhana Ghaffar (Oxford Brookes University); Shaima Hassan (Liverpool John Moores University)

Project date


SIoE research finds that young Muslims in the UK face significant barriers to social mobility

This qualitative research for the Social Mobility Commission explored the reasons why educational success for young Muslims has not always translated into good labour market outcomes. It offers an account of young Muslims’ perceptions of growing up and seeking work in the UK and seeks to analyse and understand some of the causes of low social mobility for young Muslims in this country.

Focus groups and interviews with young Muslims sought perspectives on the barriers to social mobility and in particular why educational gains are not translating into employment gains. It also explored how these perceptions differ depending on gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background and different forms of educational participation. Findings exposed serious failings in the education system and labour market, as well as widespread racism and Islamophobia. Negative stereotypes from students, teachers, advisors and employers were prevalent. Read more about the research and recommendations.

Of note, the research recognises that the British Muslim community is not a single homogeneous group.

The research was featured in The Guardian as well as across other media in the UK and internationally


Social Mobility Commission


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