Nepotism, Baby! Third of Young Brits Got Jobs Through a ‘Contact’

Sixty-one percent of 16 to 25-year-olds say it's getting harder to land work if you don't know the right people.
Man in office attire kissing someone else's shoes
Photo: Keith Beaty/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Job hunting can be pretty soul-crushing, especially when everyone around you seems to be landing swanky new jobs. The thing is, it’s probably nothing to do with you, your CV or the cover letter you spent hours on: A new survey found that just under a third of Britain’s young people got their job through a personal connection.


The research – conducted by Opinium on behalf of the charity UK Youth and KFC – surveyed 4,000 16 to 25-year-olds, and 61 percent said finding a job was becoming harder without knowing the right people. The researchers also polled over 500 businesses: While 95 percent of them insisted their application process judges all applicants equally, 32 percent also admitted it was hard for candidates to get a job without a connection. You do the math…

Other findings of note: 34 percent of businesses said they’d be more likely to hire someone from a “similar background” as them; 24 percent said the same of someone who went to the same university. The stats are pretty staggering, but not that surprising. Nepotism is booming in the UK, whether it’s your parentally blessed mates or nepo babies in showbiz (check out our long read on the subject here). It’s only widening the gap between those who come from privilege and those who don’t. 

But one of the worst bits? The secrecy: Research conducted in April found London was the UK’s worst city for nepotism, with half of all workers saying they were handed jobs through connections. One in four of those said they’d be uncomfortable sharing that fact with friends or colleagues. You might not hear about the leg up your mate got to land their cool new grad job, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have a sneaky way in.