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.

This is an important step in the world of accountancy careers, and UK employment in general. It shows businesses promising to access and progress talent from all different 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.

The new Social Mobility 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, and the support is expected to continue flooding in. Among some of the current pledgers Big Four firms KPMG and PwC.

What do Social Mobility Employers have to do?

By making this pledge, businesses must:

  1. Partner with schools or colleges to provide coaching through quality careers advice, enrichment experience, and/or mentoring to people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances.
  2. Provide structured work experience and/or apprenticeships to people from disadvantaged backgrounds or situations.
  3. Adopt open employee recruitment practices which promotes a level playing field for people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances.

When UK businesses decide to sign up to the pledge, they are contributing towards making a lasting change in Britain.

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.”

Accountancy and social mobility

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.

Social mobility is a major part of the firm’s business strategy, including outreach in schools around the UK, work experience programmes, a multitude of apprenticeship opportunities, and the adoption of open and inclusive recruitment processes.

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.”

Top accountancy firm PwC were also proud to support the pledge.

They tweeted about their decision to join: “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.”

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