Comments on ‘The Great British Class Calculator’

The appearance earlier this week of ‘The Great British Class Calculator’ on the BBC website has been the subject of some discussion. Replacing 3 classes by 7 led me to wonder where I would be placed, so I thought I would give it a try. I had no particular expectations from this, but thought that as someone with a fairly senior university post, and an interest in culture (theatre, opera, classical music and art) as well as more modern social pursuits like social networking and blogging, I might score reasonably. Well, that was what I thought! As it was, I was in for a surprise.

The calculator consists of questions on your salary and savings, whether you own or rent your house, what your interests are, and who your friends are. Inevitably most of my friends are in professional jobs, and I’ve mentioned my interests above. Although university staff are not paid particularly well in the UK, my salary is reasonable, and I have some savings. Looking good so far? Well, maybe not, because it seems that the fact that I rent my flat (partly for convenience and partly because I see no point in tying up most of my resources in a house that I have no-one to inherit) is a serious issue.

So, having completed the calculation, it seems that I am an Emergent Services Worker. This class is characterised by being made up of mainly young people (I’m 56!); the fact that I rent seems to have been the deciding factor. But how can a University Reader, with 30 years experience and a reasonable international research reputation, be an Emergent Services Worker? I invite the designers of the calculator to review their algorithms!

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4 thoughts on “Comments on ‘The Great British Class Calculator’”

  1. I appear to be ‘Traditional Working Class’ but own a home (no mortgage), and am retired with little capital. I socialise with Professors to bus drivers. What a load of rubbish devised by so-called social scientists, hardly scientific.

  2. I checked ‘my place’ in society and, from this 5 question calculator, appear to be ‘Traditional Working Class’: “This class scores low on all forms of the three capitals although they are not the poorest group. The average age of this class is older than the others”.

    I dispute these classifications as I own a home (no mortgage), am retired with little capital, but have a Masters degree and still am active professionally engaging with academics and professionals. I admit that I don’t go the museum, art gallery or watch sport though.

    What an ill-conceived method of classification, devised presumably by so-called ‘social scientists’ who have little knowledge of Maths.

  3. Rob, I must apologise for vandalising your blog with graffiti but I have pasted in the classifications below. Perhaps we should all lie and see where we stand then, perhaps even get a PhD out of it 🙂

    The social classes

    Precariat: This is the most deprived class of all with low levels of economic, cultural and social capital. The every day lives of members of this class are precarious.

    Traditional Working Class: This class scores low on all forms of the three capitals although they are not the poorest group. The average age of this class is older than the others.

    Emergent Service Workers: This new class has low economic capital but has high levels of ’emerging’ cultural capital and high social capital. This group are young and often found in urban areas.

    Technical Middle Class: This is a new, small class with high economic capital but seem less culturally engaged. They have relatively few social contacts and so are less socially engaged.

    New Affluent Workers: This class has medium levels of economic capital and higher levels of cultural and social capital. They are a young and active group.

    Established Middle Class: Members of this class have high levels of all three capitals although not as high as the Elite. They are a gregarious and culturally engaged class.

    Elite: This is the most privileged class in Great Britain who have high levels of all three capitals. Their high amount of economic capital sets them apart from everyone else.

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