Who’s top of the class when it comes to social mobility?

Who’s top of the class when it comes to social mobility?

Wikipedia defines social mobility as “the movement of individuals, families, households, or other categories of people within or between social strata in a society. It is a change in social status relative to others' social location within a given society.”

Now, if you take that definition and apply it to the employment market, what we’re really talking about is inclusion. Why? Well, there are many pieces of research which demonstrate that a disproportionate number of the best jobs go to graduates from private schools and elite universities.

The Social Mobility Employer Index (a joint initiative between the Social Mobility Foundation, the Social Mobility Commission and the City of London Corporation), aims to encourage firms to share what positive steps they’re taking where possible to buck this out-of-date trend by recognising those employers who are working towards being more inclusive and to celebrate who’s doing it well.

All employers entered willingly and voluntarily. They could enter anonymously and choose to reveal their identity if they came in the top 50. Nearly 100 employers from 17 industry sectors submitted entries and together they employed nearly 1 million people.

They were asked to reveal what actions they were taking in at least one of a broad range of sections – from attraction to progression strategies. They were marked under a strict scheme and benchmarked both within their same sector and across different sectors. What’s important to note, is that the report recognises that process needs to be introduced for progress to be made and therefore does not penalise employers from starting from a low base, but rewards them for the actions they are taking. The top 50 are therefore the employers who are taking the most action on social mobility and not those who are the most representative.

As a result, the top ten was as follows
1) Grant Thornton UK LLP
3) Skanska UK PLC
4) Standard Life
5) Deloitte UK
6) JP Morgan
7) PwC
8) Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP
9) WM Morrisons Supermarkets Plc and
10) Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

It’s good to see the professional services taking four of the top 10 positions. It’s an industry that is known for targeting the best of the best. Twenty years ago that might have meant they focusing on Oxbridge students. Perhaps now, they’re redefining what the ‘best of the best’ means. Law is also well represented with 17 companies sitting in the Top 50 and is another sector that historically that might have once appeared elitist. 

It’s a good indication that times are changing. Or, at the very least, if it’s not changing yet, there’s a movement towards positive change. No matter what industry and how many people are employed, recruitment and progression should be based on one thing, and one thing only, their ability. Irrespective of sex, colour, sexual orientation or social background. And this is one small step closer to achieving that goal.

For more information, please see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/top-50-uk-employers-for-social-mobility

Friday, 23 June 2017

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