London is the UK’s official ‘nepo baby’ capital

With the spotlight on acting or music dynasties – or families famous for simply being famous – it can be easy to forget that nepotism doesn’t just exist in the world of showbiz. You don’t need to be a Coppola or a Beckham to get ahead. 

Londoners, nepo babies walk among us. 

That’s right, a recent survey of employees has revealed that, particularly in the capital, it’s not what you know, but who you know. The poll by Applied – a recruitment platform aiming to reduce bias, improve hires and increase diversity – has found that when it comes to nepotism in the UK, Londoners are the worst culprits. According to this article in The Evening Standard, of the 2,000 participants surveyed, exactly half got the role through personal connections. It doesn’t stop there, either: knowing someone not only gives you a foot in the door, but it also means that you are likely to get in further up the ladder, with more than a third entering a role at middle management level, and one in eight at senior level. Well, something had to explain Melissa in Visual Marketing’s recent promotion.

It’s depressing, and sadly not new. You don’t even need family in the same industry, it’s all about their social network. Not to get all academic here, but this is what French sociologist Bourdieu back in the ’80s described as the power of cultural capital – ‘a familiarity with the legitimate culture within a society’. People are often educated with those of a similar background, and are taught to like the same things, and hang out in the same places. By the time your kids graduate, if you are a museum director you probably have a roster of publishers, designers, architects and company directors in your contacts list to help them out and vice versa with their offspring.

Of course, it’s tempting to demonise nepos who benefit from such a blatant rigging of the system: no, it’s not fair, and it certainly doesn’t open up competitive fields of work, especially in the arts and media, to greater diversity. But it does highlight one golden rule of getting work that isn’t income-related. The more people you know in the industry, the better, and if you’re not related to them, it’s time to get networking. Get connected to good people doing good stuff. After all, you can choose your friends, not your family.

Young folk without connections will be hardest hit by the huge number of London youth clubs set to close.

Whatever the relationship between Luke and Darth, someone’s been nicking the Star Wars merch.