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22 June 2017

Charles Russell Speechlys ranked in first ever 'Top 50 UK employers for social mobility'

The top 50 UK employers who have taken the most action to improve social mobility in the workplace were recently announced in what is believed to be the world’s first-ever Social Mobility Employer Index and Charles Russell Speechlys is proud to be included.

The Index is a joint initiative between the Social Mobility Foundation and the Social Mobility Commission, in partnership with the City of London Corporation. It ranks Britain’s employers for the first time on the actions they are taking to ensure they are open to accessing and progressing talent from all backgrounds and it showcases progress towards improving social mobility.

The aim of the Index is to encourage firms to share their initiatives and progress in becoming more inclusive employers and to reveal which sectors and companies are taking the issue of social mobility most seriously.

Research has consistently shown that people from more affluent backgrounds take a disproportionate number of the best jobs and that employers tend to disproportionately employ graduates who went to private schools and elite universities.

David Johnston, chief executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, said:

"All the Top 50 firms in the Social Mobility Employer Index should be applauded for the progress they are making towards ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to get in and get on – regardless of their background."

Nearly 100 employers from 17 sectors, who collectively employ just under one million people, submitted entries about their practices and procedures in areas such as work with young people, recruitment, selection and progression.

The final rankings (available here) were decided by a panel of experts and all firms will receive a report with recommendations for areas for improvement. Key findings include:

  • Firms are now increasingly asking both new and current employees about their social background: Four in 10 ask the type of school attended (41 per cent); a quarter ask if an employee received free school meals (26 per cent); 39 per cent ask if employees were the first in their family to go to university; around one in ten ask about parental occupation (7 per cent) and the postcode where an employee grew up (11 per cent).
  • Just under one in five of these firms (17 per cent) now set social mobility targets as part of their business strategy.
  • The firms collectively scored the highest on their work with young people, providing outreach activities for over 663,000 young people, nearly 10,000 work experience placements and over 5,000 mentors. But they score lowest on helping people from lower-socio economic backgrounds to progress in the workplace.
  • Nearly three quarters of the organisations (72 per cent) are offering apprenticeships, but 77 per cent are at Levels 2 and 3 (GCSE or A level equivalent) which have been shown to offer lower returns for the apprentices.
  • 96 per cent of firms say they accept degrees from any university, but 61 per cent of successful applicants attended one of the country’s most selective 24 universities (despite making up just 42 per cent of the applications).
  • The top 11 UK universities are visited by employers more than all the other UK universities combined and these 11 are all in the 20 per cent of universities with the lowest percentage of state school students in the country.