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PwC ranks number one employer for social mobility for second consecutive year

Nov 11, 2020

PwC has been ranked the top UK employer in the Social Mobility Employer Index 2020.

The Index, created by the Social Mobility Foundation, identifies Britain’s employers that have taken the most action to improve social mobility in the workplace. This is the second year running that PwC has topped the ranking.

Employers are assessed across seven key areas, including their work with young people, routes into the company, how they attract talent, recruitment and selection, and progression. This year 125 employers from 18 sectors were considered for the Top 75 rankings.

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.

This year PwC has adapted the ways it supports social mobility in the wake of COVID-19. By responding quickly PwC was able to mitigate some of the impact the crisis could have on its employees, new starters, apprentices and potential hires. PwC were quick to create accessible, virtual alternatives that delivered similar experiences and benefits as in person programmes, and filled support gaps created by the crisis in skills training, career development, recruitment and mental health support.

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

"It's an honour to be named social mobility employer of the year, and a responsibility. Improving social mobility has never been more important or more challenging. The pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on disadvantaged people, regions and groups, and there's a risk that progress isn't just slowed but reversed. Many employers are doing fantastic work in this space and together we need to redouble our efforts to open up opportunities to more people”

Laura Hinton, Chief People Officer at PwC UK added:

“Improving social mobility isn’t just the right thing to do, it makes sound business sense too - creating a diverse workforce that reflects the communities we work in. We’re proud of the steps we’ve taken as part of our five point plan.  Social mobility has also been core to our pandemic response, such as providing virtual skills support to communities and making sure all our employees can access a safe space to work.”

Sarah Atkinson, chief executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, said:

“I am delighted that PwC committed to entering the Index this year despite the challenges they have faced in the wake of the pandemic. Now more than ever, we need to see business play their part in the levelling up agenda.”

The Rt. Hon. Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility Foundation, added:

“As the Covid-19 crisis continues and the UK descends into a sharp recession, more will need to be done to avoid a job catastrophe, for young people particularly. Already 60% of the jobs that have been lost since the pandemic began have been among 18-24 year olds. I urge those sectors of our economy that are not represented in this year’s Index to participate in 2021 and commit to joining the ranks of those employers who are already making such a difference to young people’s life chances.”


Notes to editors

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

About the Social Mobility Employer Index

The Social Mobility Foundation’s Employer Index was established in 2017 to encourage firms to become more accessible to individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. The methodology was developed in collaboration with the Bridge Group, a non-profit consultancy that uses research to promote social equality.

The Index is comprised of two elements, questions directed at employers, and an employee survey, which was introduced in 2018. The former assesses employers work across seven areas: their work with young people, routes into the employer, the attraction of staff, recruitment and selection, data collection, progression of staff and experienced hires and advocacy. The latter is to add qualitative insights and contextualise the data provided in submissions. Employers are then benchmarked against one another based on the results.

In 2020, questions asked to employers and employees remained the same to give employers consistency. Since 2017 a few questions have been tweaked, and additional questions added around culture and intersectionality. For crucial questions, organisations are asked for several years of data to monitor the impact of the changes that organisations have been implementing.

Index submissions are considered and marked against the latest empirical evidence of what interventions effectively advance social equality in the UK workplace. Our approach is rigorous and ensures a fair process, recognising that different sectors and individual businesses do things differently. This includes:

a. Identifying a broad range of questions that interrogate the various ways in which employers can contribute to social equality.

b. Weighting responses based on the evidence that some areas have more impact on social equality relative to others. For example, there is substantial evidence that providing work experience placements for young people is more impactful than general outreach; and that some approaches to recruitment lead to more equal outcomes compared to others.

c. Weighting whole sections of the marking scheme based on where maximum impact can be delivered. Within each section, every organisation is then categorised within a decile, so that modest differences in scoring do not then significantly affect the overall ranking.

d. Recognising that not all organisations will score marks for each question. For example, they may not have formal graduate recruitment programmes because of their size. Therefore, organisations are ranked based on the percentage of available marks they have achieved.

Please note that data is presented in the report as a percentage of the overall submissions, unless otherwise stated, and therefore where percentages have fallen between 2020 and 2019, this is amongst a smaller number of entrants (119 in 2020 vs 125 in 2019). The employers included in the 2020 Index employ 973,735 people. For further information about the Index, please visit


About PwC

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Ellie Raven

Senior Manager, media relations, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44(0)7525 925 830

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