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PwC named top UK employer for social mobility

Oct 08, 2019

PwC has today been ranked as the top UK employer in the Social Mobility Employer Index 2019.

The Index, created by the Social Mobility Foundation, ranks Britain’s employers on the actions they’re taking to ensure they are accessing and progressing talent from all class backgrounds. 

Employers are assessed on everything from the work they do with young people and their apprenticeships, through to their recruitment and selection processes and how people from lower income backgrounds progress within their organisations. 125 employers from 18 sectors were considered for the Top 75 rankings. 

PwC has been ranked first in the Index for the work it has undertaken to enable those from lower socio-economic backgrounds to succeed. Measures taken by PwC include increasing the variety of routes for people of all backgrounds into the firm, engaging with a wide range of schools and universities across the country and, specifically, providing both employment and schools outreach in Bradford - a government identified social mobility Opportunity Area.  

Kevin Ellis, Chairman and Senior Partner at PwC UK said: 

"We’re delighted to be recognised for the work we’re doing and the progress we’ve made.  As a large employer, we have an opportunity to drive positive change for our people and the communities we work with across the country. Good progress has been made but there is still much more to be done. Many businesses are doing fantastic work on social mobility, and we will continue to collaborate with others to have the biggest impact and ensure that someone’s future is determined by their talent and determination, not by their background.”

Laura Hinton, Chief People Officer at PwC UK:

“We’re proud of the steps we’ve taken, such as updating our recruitment processes to make them as inclusive and accessible as possible, and opening a new Assurance Centre in Bradford to provide employment for local people and skills training with schools in the area. Our people are our biggest strength and it’s important we attract, retrain and invest in people from all backgrounds to ensure our workforce reflects the societies we work in and the clients we work with.”

David Johnston OBE, Chief Executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, said:

“We are delighted to see more and more employers every year taking part in our Social Mobility Employer Index. The quality of submissions this year meant we have increased the size of our Top list from 50 to 75 and it shows the very wide range of organisations trying to make progress on social mobility. Whilst no employer would say they have cracked their social mobility challenge, all of the employers in the Top list – along with those that didn’t quite make it – should be congratulated for the efforts they’re making to ensure their organisation is open to talent from all class backgrounds.”


Notes to editors

  1. To find out more about PwC’s work on social mobility and to see our social mobility action plan, please visit

  2. For further information on the Social Mobility Index, please contact: Emily Hodgson, Social Mobility Foundation: 0207 183 1189

About the Social Mobility Employer Index

The Social Mobility Employer Index was developed in consultation with, and following feedback from social mobility experts and major employers. Employers entering the Index do so free of charge and voluntarily. To enter, they had to answer questions about actions they are taking in at least one of the following sections: 

  1. working with young people - well-evaluated programmes that reach beyond the doorstep of the office to all of the country’s talent, and which provide routes into the employer/profession for those that have the interest and aptitude 

  2. routes into work - well-structured non-graduate routes that provide genuine parity of esteem and comparable progression to graduate ones 

  3. attraction - innovative ways of reaching beyond graduates of the usual five to ten universities many top employers focus their efforts on

  4. recruitment and selection - evidence that the employer removes hurdles that will disproportionately affect those from lower socio-economic groups and is moving to a system that judges potential rather than past academic performance or polish

  5. data collection - rigorous analysis of the profile of the workforce and of measures taken to improve its diversity

  6. progression, culture and experienced hires - effective strategies that help those from lower socio-economic groups get on rather than just get in

  7. internal/external advocacy - action to get more of their staff involved in efforts to improve social mobility and to get suppliers/peer firms to also take action

Employers are also able to participate in a voluntary employee survey, which included 8 questions about the culture of their workplace. 40 employers participated in this and we received over 14,000 responses.

The submissions were marked using a strict mark scheme and the list of scores was then benchmarked both within the same sector and across different employment sectors. In targeting sectors that have sometimes been identified as needing to improve their socio-economic diversity, the Index recognises that process often has to be introduced before progress can be made and does not punish employers for starting from a low base, but rather rewards them for taking significant action to improve this. The top 75 are thus those taking the most action on social mobility and not the 75 that are already the most representative of the country at large.

Employers had the option to enter anonymously to receive feedback on their strategies; if they finished in the top 75 they then had the choice of whether to remain anonymous. Two employers did so and this meant those underneath them moved up the published ranking.

Both the development of the Index and the benchmarking is supported by an advisory group whose membership has representatives from the Association of Graduate Recruiters, the Bridge Group, Royal Holloway University, and Stonewall.


For further information about the Index, please visit


About PwC

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Ellie Raven

Ellie Raven

Senior Manager, media relations, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44(0)7525 925 830

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