In that speech yesterday, David Cameron claimed that "social mobility has fallen - to a lower level than in the 1950s." I guess he was referring to this paper.
Here's my theory. Social mobility in the UK (and US) could decline further - because of globalization. It rests on three premises.
1. There's a distinction between "hard" skills and "soft" ones. Hard skills are technical ones, like engineering, software programming, and data analysis. Soft skills are things like negotiating skills, salesmanship, communication skills, the ability to get on in "teams".
2. Globalization means demand in the west for hard skills will weaken, relative to demand for soft skills, because the hard skills will be more easily offshored. There are countless Indians or Chinese who can write software as well as an Englishman, and cheaper. But there are much fewer who can write good English or sell a house.
3. Bright working class youngsters, relative to middle-class ones, have relatively more hard skills than soft ones (There are of course countless exceptions.) Think of the dweeb, geek, Northern chemist stereotype - people like us. Or alternatively, consider Ewart Keep's theory, that soft skills are often just a proxy for being middle-class.
These three premises imply that the prospects for upward mobility by bright but poor youngsters will decline, because the well-paid jobs (requiring hard skills) they have climbed up into in the past will be done in India and China. Middle-class youngsters, with their softer skills, are less vulnerable.
Now, I'm not offering this as an explanation for the recent decline social mobility - globalization probably hasn't gone so far yet. But it could be a factor in years to come.