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Employers set a new benchmark for social mobility

12 of the UK’s most high-profile companies have been recognised by the Government for leading the charge in ensuring young people have a better chance of getting on the jobs ladder.The 12 companies, which are made up of a broad range of industries and cover the breadth of the UK, have been nominated as Social Mobility Business Compact ‘Champions’ and are pledging to take the message out to other businesses across the country. These companies are Accenture, Aspire Group, Baker & McKenzie LLP, The Co-operative Food, Deloitte, EY, Grant Thornton, KPMG LLP, Linklaters LLP, Mears Group, Standard Life and Telefónica O2.The Champions are driving a new benchmark for social mobility by committing to meet a set of strict criteria over the next 12 months, building on their existing work, including:

  • Developing relationships with schools and young people
  • Targeting efforts on institutions with above average levels of disadvantage
  • Widening the geographical spread of opportunities
  • Offering well-structured non-graduate entry-routes and driving forward recruitment practices that eliminate barriers to social mobility

The Champions are signatories of the Social Mobility Business Compact, which was set up by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in 2011, to encourage employers to offer young people fair and open access to employment opportunities. Since the launch of the Compact, 10 government departments have also committed to adhering to the criteria for the next year.The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Cleggwas at the Skills Show, the nation’s largest skills and careers event, at the NEC in Birmingham on 13 November 2014, to launch the Social Mobility Business Compact Champion Tier. He said:“I believe that in a fair society, what counts towards your success should be the talent you have and how hard you work, not who your parents are or where you come from.I’m delighted that the Champions we have recognised today appreciate the economic value of recruiting people from all walks of life.“Businesses know they need to find the best talent in order to succeed. This means searching beyond the usual recruitment methods and hiring young people with great potential, whatever their background. It’s great to see leaders in industry backing this approach. However many businesses are still missing out, and more companies need to follow in the footsteps of the Champions we have announced today if we are to achieve our aim of a stronger economy and fairer society.”Alan Long, Executive Director, Mears said:"Mears is delighted that our work to promote social mobility has been recognised and we are proud to be Social Mobility Champions. Alongside our partners in both the social housing and social care sectors we work in some of the most marginalised communities in the UK. We have outreach programmes that target opportunities at communities where unemployment is high as we believe that where a person has grown up or gone to school should not act as a barrier to their future. We have people from a diverse range of backgrounds at every level of the organisation and we believe that this diversity strengthens our business and gives us a better understanding of our customer base”.More than 170 companies have signed up to the Social Mobility Business Compact, from sectors including legal, retail, finance and energy. The Compact is already delivering real change – over half (56%) of employers who are signatories have increased contact with disadvantaged schools since joining. Nearly all (92%) of the participating employers think fair and open recruitment will expose their company to a broader range of talent, with 82% agreeing that fair and open recruitment creates a workforce with a wider range of people that better reflects their client base.For more information on the Social Mobility Business Compact click here.


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