• Jobs For The Boys: More Idiomatic Expressions in English


    One of my students asked me the meaning of the idiomatic expression Jobs For The Boys this week. Have you heard it before?

    Let’s look at it in this lesson.


    What is the meaning of the expression jobs for the boys?


    Jobs for the boys refers to favoritism in the workplace. The word boys suggests a closed circle of contacts to whom jobs are offered mostly including family or close friends.

    The saying is said to reflect the traditional public school bias in the United Kingdom towards ‘the old boys network.’ Here, professional contacts are comprised of acquaintances and friends from the same schools and later universities and jobs are often given on this basis.

    Let’s watch an excerpt from a British satirical program from the 1970’s called Yes Minister where the prevalence of the jobs for the boys mentality in the British political system is ridiculed.

    Before you watch the video note that the word Quango mentioned refers to a quasi (almost) non-governmental organization, or an organization to which the government has handed over power. This satire suggests that these Quangos were filled (at that time) with jobs for the boys.

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