With a 32.4 percent income inequality, Bangladesh has ranked near the bottom on the World Economic Forum's (WEF) first-ever social mobility index.
Among 82 countries in the world, Bangladesh ranked 78th.
Moreover, in South Asia, Bangladesh is only ahead of Pakistan on the Global Social Mobility Index 2020.
Sri Lanka ranked 59th on the index and topped the South Asian league table. It is followed by India, ranked 76th globally.
Afghanistan, the Maldives, Nepal and Bhutan were not measured for the index which was published on Sunday.
Bangladesh lags behind in social safety net protection
Bangladesh scored the least in internet user and social safety net protection.
Findings of the report show that 95.2 percent of the population are covered by at least a 3G mobile network. However, only 15 percent of the adult population used internet in the last three months.
Bangladesh did good in fair wage distribution, a pillar in which Belgium did the best.
The country also ranks 75th in education access, 78th in education quality and equity, and 80th in inclusive institutions.
The WEF said the world's biggest economies – the US, China, Japan, Germany and India – had the most to gain from increasing social mobility.
It measured countries against five key criteria that are required for creating social mobility – health, access to and quality of education, technology, work conditions and inclusive institutions.
Countries with greater social mobility provide more equally shared opportunities, as there is direct and linear relationship between social mobility and the country's income inequality.
Most economies are failing to provide the conditions in which their citizens can thrive, often by a large margin.
"As a result, opportunities in life for an individual remain tied to their socio-economic status at birth, thereby enshrining historical inequalities," said the Social Mobility Index report.
It said if economies were able to improve their social mobility score by 10 points, GDP would increase by 4.4 percent by 2030 on top of the societal benefits such investments would bring.
Nonetheless, few economies do have the right conditions to promote social mobility.
Nordic countries best performers
Denmark tops the index with a social mobility score of 85.2, followed by Finland (83.6), Norway (83.6), Sweden (83.5) and Iceland (82.7).
These nations combine access, quality and equity in education, while also providing work opportunities and good working conditions, alongside quality social protection and inclusive institutions.
Higher levels of social mobility mean better opportunities for citizens to overcome historical inequalities to reach their full potential.
Among the world's large emerging economies, Russia is the most socially mobile, ranking 39th. Next is China, which ranks 45th, followed by Brazil (60th), India (76th) and South Africa (77th).
Japan ranked the highest (15th) among Asian countries, and it scored high in educational and work opportunities.
"The social and economic consequences of inequality are profound and far-reaching: a growing sense of unfairness, precarity, perceived loss of identity and dignity, weakening social fabric, eroding trust in institutions, disenchantment with political processes, and an erosion of the social contract," Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF, said.
"The response by business and government must include a concerted effort to create new pathways to socioeconomic mobility, ensuring everyone has fair opportunities for success," he added.
Low wages, lack of social protection and poor lifelong learning systems are the greatest challenges globally. Most countries underperform in these three critical dimensions.
The average score in fair wages is 52.5 out of 100, the lowest average among all pillars of the index. These results are underscored by particularly poor performance in the prevalence of low pay, states the report.
The WEF figured out a new financing model for social mobility is necessary through taxation but it must be complemented by a new mix of spending and tailored approaches.
The report suggests improving access to education throughout an individual's life, and a new social contract. Business must be a core stakeholder in the efforts around social mobility.
The report was released ahead of the 50th Annual Meeting of the WEF, which is designed to provide policy-makers with a means to identify areas for improving social mobility and promoting equally shared opportunities in their economies regardless of their development.