Big Four firms pledge to improve Social Mobility
As one of the UK’s leading accountancy training providers, we firmly believe that anyone who wants to train as an accountant and have the chance to follow that career path […]
As one of the UK’s leading accountancy training providers, we firmly believe that anyone who wants to train as an accountant and have the chance to follow that career path should be able to. While not all will have the necessary skills to succeed, opening the relevant avenues for those with the desire to is very important. So, we’re delighted that this week, several firms have signed a pledge to improve social mobility within the profession.
The Social Mobility Pledge was launched by former Education Secretary, Justine Greening MP in a Westminster Hall debate on 28 March, committing businesses to promote opportunity for everyone no matter what their background. The pledge aims to break this class ceiling and build a partnership with UK businesses to provide better advice, information, and experiences for young people.
Dozens of businesses across the UK have already signed up to this pledge, including ‘Big Four’ firms KPMG and PwC.
What does it mean?
The pledge is being widely regarded as an important step for the accountancy profession, and UK employment in general. It shows businesses promising to access and progress talent from all backgrounds, taking a step towards a world where your beginning does not have to dictate where you end up.
In its 2017 ‘State of Social Mobility in Britain’ report, the Sutton Trust found the UK is one of the worst OECD nations for income mobility. Talent is spread evenly across the country, but opportunity is still not.
What do Social Mobility Employers have to do?
By making this pledge, businesses must:
- Partner with schools or colleges to provide coaching through careers advice, enrichment experience, and/or mentoring to people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances.
- Provide structured work experience and/or apprenticeships to people from disadvantaged backgrounds or situations.
- Adopt open employee recruitment practices which promote a level playing field for people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances.
David Harrison, North East based co-founder of True Potential LLP and the Harrison Centre for Social Mobility, said: “Social mobility is not just about what the government can do. It exists in businesses throughout the country. Growing those opportunities and connecting them with local communities is key. We need to step up our approach to social mobility in this country by replacing limited prospects with training towards better paying and more skilled jobs as well as encouraging entrepreneurialism.”
What the firms are saying
Tweeting at the launch of the Pledge, KPMG said: “Becoming a founding member of @thesmpledge reinforces our strong commitment to boosting #socialmobility throughout the UK.” KPMG has been championing social mobility for over ten years as it was one of the first organisations to pay the real Living Wage back in 2006.
Melanie Richards, deputy chair of KPMG UK, said: “One of the key challenges facing business today is talent. With the UK’s skills gap threatening to undermine our country’s future success, the three pillars of the Social Mobility Pledge are essential for businesses to attract, engage, and develop talented individuals. In this country, the circumstances into which you are born still have a decisive influence on the opportunities available to you in life. This cannot continue and businesses can, and should, be part of the solution.”
PwC were also proud to support the pledge, tweeting: “Today @PwC_UK signed up to @thesmpledge launched by @JustineGreening. Business has made great strides but can do more to support those from less privileged backgrounds. No-one should be held back because of where they start out in life. Everyone deserves to aim high and dream big.”