Life chances and social mobility: different cohort conditions.
Social position still depends on social origin, gender and work experience. Cohorts born in the mid- 1960s are less advantaged than cohorts born in the mid- and late 1950s, when studied at the time the respective birth cohorts were 31 years old. Research indicates that younger cohorts have a lesser chance of obtaining social positions such as higher-grade professionals/managers than relatively older cohorts had, when education, gender and other background factors have been controlled for. In addition, the younger cohorts have an increased risk of ending up in unskilled occupational groups. This development can be explained in part by the change in labour market conditions, such as unemployment, and in part by educational inflation (educational expansion), which means that similar social positions will be increasingly over time occupied by individuals who have more education and credentials that are demanded by workplaces. Agents are positioned according to a state of distribution of the specific capital (e.g. educational capital). Generally, a highly educated population, under pressure, will influence strong families to invest more in their children’s education, in order to defend their position (a “defensive expenditure“). This social process of differentiation can be characterised as an unequal achievement society