Social mobility is a major issue for our country and our economy. Someone’s future should be determined by their talent and determination. But, for too many people around the UK, that's unfortunately not the case.
The issues related to social mobility are complex, and the solutions are many and varied. But businesses have a major role to play in advancing social mobility and in being part of the solution to this important problem. As major employers and as influencers on the society we serve, business has the power to effect positive change.
At PwC, we've always had a focus on social mobility we're ranked as the top UK employer in the 2019 Social Mobility Employer Index. We ensure that our recruitment processes for school leavers, graduates and experienced hires promote social mobility and enable access for all.
We’re active in our communities, raising skills and aspirations that will help people to be more aware of the world of work and more successful within it, whether at PwC or elsewhere.
Through our PwC Social Entrepreneurs Club we also provide a range of training and development support to social enterprises, who we know are often run by, and serve, some of the most disadvantaged communities across the UK.
And we’re helping to celebrate those people and organisations that are making a difference by advancing social mobility through our sponsorship of the UK Social Mobility Awards.
PwC is a place where everyone can succeed, regardless of their background. We've created a Social Mobility team and developed a five-year social mobility strategy, which focuses on Recruitment, Progression, Community and Advocacy and sets out ambitious targets for how we'll change our activities to further support social mobility in the years ahead.
It's about your past not determining your future. Equality of opportunity. Making the most of your talent.
Research suggests that people born into a background of disadvantage face significant difficulties in overcoming barriers that exist through no fault of their own, with lower educational and employment outcomes as a result. For example:
But why should PwC care about social mobility? And what can PwC do to help solve this important societal problem?
Social mobility matters to PwC. We're a people business and we want the best people to work for us, wherever they come from. Our work and our people will be better for being informed by diverse insights and experiences.
We provide a number of routes into PwC and we’re continually innovating, to increase the opportunities people have to work for us.
In 2015 we removed UCAS points from the majority of our graduate and undergraduate opportunities. We’ve strengthened our School Leaver programme and offer formal paid work experience to year 12 students. We have our Flying Start university programme and our Technology Degree Apprenticeship and Data Science Graduate Apprenticeships for those who want a traditional university experience and to launch their career at the same time.
We’ve recently launched our new student recruitment selection process which helps to remove unconscious bias including removing ‘past-focused’ questioning that favours candidates from more privileged backgrounds.
Over the next five years, we will:
We're a member of The 5% Club, an industry led initiative focussed on driving momentum into the recruitment of apprentices, graduates and sponsored students. The 5% Club is a movement of more than 250 employers providing ‘earn and learn’ opportunities to develop the skills and talents people need to become more employable and create meaningful careers. We currently have 20% of our workforce on formal earn and learn programmes through our graduate, undergraduate and school leaver programmes. We're proud to showcase our commitment and act as an advocate for this cause by joining the club.
Joining is one thing. Staying and succeeding is another.
We’ve worked hard to ensure that PwC is an open, inclusive working environment, where everyone is treated with an open mind, recognised and rewarded for their hard work and given equal opportunities to grow, develop and progress within the business.
We'll be tracking the performance and progression of our employees from disadvantaged backgrounds much more closely in the years ahead. As the tangible symbol of who progresses the furthest within our partnership structure, we'll aim to report on the proportion of our Partners who tell us that they received Free School Meals.
Social mobility goes to the heart of our purpose as a firm, which is to build trust in society and solve important problems. Tackling social mobility has to go further than just what we do as a responsible employer – it must also include what we do as a responsible business.
We have a longstanding community programme, which this year delivered over 80,000 hours of volunteering and supported almost 20,000 beneficiaries across our focus areas of education and enterprise.
We also support social enterprise through our own social enterprise hub, the Fire Station, and our social enterprise restaurant Brigade, which is achieving a significant social impact and a positive Social Return on Investment.
In addition, we've outlined our support for supporting social mobility across the UK by becoming a Department for Education Skills Partner, a member of the Social Mobility Business Partnership and a signatory to the Social Mobility Pledge.
Over the next five years, we will:
Social mobility is a problem that no single organisation can tackle alone. So it’s therefore vital that we collaborate with others, share our good practice and use our convening power to spread the messages about the importance of increased social mobility:
Social Mobility Lead