Nepotism? More like good parenting, say voters

June 07, 2013, 9:13 AM GMT+0

Eighty-four percent would use their personal contacts to help their children get a job, and only one in seven say doing so is bad for society

On Tuesday morning the government’s new social mobility adviser, James Caan, told the Today Programme that parents should resist helping their children to get jobs using personal contacts: “I don’t think it's good to create a society where people get jobs based on who you know rather than what you can do”, he said. In a matter of hours it emerged that Mr Caan had employed his own daughter within weeks of her leaving university, in three different organisations linked to her father.

New YouGov research today reveals that an overwhelming majority of the public would do the same: 84% say “I would use my personal contacts to help my children get a job”, while just 7% say they “would not”.

Additionally, only one in seven (15%) say “it is bad for society” for parents to help their children to find a job using their contacts. A third (32%) say it is “good for society”, and nearly half (46%) say it doesn’t matter either way. The young are the group with the largest number who object to familial nepotism, with 29% viewing it as damaging to society; twice as many as the average number (14%) of their elder three age groups who say the same.

Mr Caan also implied that is bad parenting to help your children to contacts: “You are trying to develop your child too; you don't want them to feel as though they don't have to make the effort”, he said. But the public disagree here as well. A majority (56%) say that it is “good parenting” to help a child find a job using your own contacts, and just 6% say that it is “bad parenting”.

Mr Caan made his name as an entrepreneur on the BBC programme Dragon’s Den. Since the press highlighted his role in finding his daughter employment he has said that,“Despite my involvement she still had to go through a rigorous recruitment process with a number of different candidates and demonstrate her own abilities”.

See the full poll results

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