Earnings are the biggest contributor to the living standards of families in Britain, but it is no longer the case that individuals can rely on automatic earnings growth to lift their standard of living. Median wages have been stagnating since 2003 and the share of national income that goes to the wages of low-to-middle earners has fallen from £16 of every £100 in 1977 to £12 in 2010. This context makes it all the more important that individuals have the opportunity to earn their way to a better standard of living by progressing up the earnings ladder as they move on in their career. Is it becoming easier for individuals to move up? Who is more likely to move up the earnings ladder and who is at risk of falling behind? The Resolution Foundation’s series of work on social mobility answers these questions.

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