Supporting new joiners from lower socioeconomic backgrounds

Getting in and Getting Started

Getting In and Getting Started
  • Insight
  • December 02, 2023

At PwC we are taking a number of new steps to support new joiners from lower socioeconomic backgrounds settle in and progress, following a significant research project with Thinks Insight & Strategy.

The report shares insights and reflections on the research project we embarked on with Thinks Insight & Strategy (Thinks), aimed at understanding and improving the experience for those joining the firm from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

The actions we are taking to support social mobility are underpinned by new targets for socioeconomic diversity within the workforce. The targets are set by grade, recognising the importance of socio-economic diversity at all levels of our organisation and the need to ensure progression.

Actions from our research

£1000 salary advance for all school leavers and grads

School leavers and graduates will be able to advance up to a £1000 of their first month’s salary. The option will be open to everyone, helping to reduce any potential stigma associated with the request.

Enhanced reporting on fair work allocation

Socio-economic background data will be incorporated into the way we monitor the distribution of work to help ensure projects are allocated fairly.

Publishing salaries for school leaver apprentice programme

Salaries will be published on job descriptions for our school leaver apprentice programmes.

Increased mentoring for joiners from lower SEB

Increased mentoring will be made available for new joiners from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Research methodology

Capturing experiences - online platform

Utilizing an online diary approach, a cohort of our new joiners from a lower socioeconomic background shared their experiences on a dedicated platform, responding to structured questionnaires and tasks that offered insights into their journey at PwC so far. We also engaged a sample of potential prospective recruits from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, which included students and their parents/guardians, on a separate online platform to understand the views and experiences of young people and those who influence them.

Online empowerment workshop

Thinks conducted an online empowerment workshop with the new joiner participant cohort, drawing on the key themes and insights emerging during the online platform activity.

Co-creation workshop

The project culminated in an in-person workshop moderated by Thinks, where our senior leaders and new joiner participants discussed the insights uncovered during the online diary exercise and empowerment workshop, and collectively developed ideas for actions that PwC could take to better support prospective applicants and new joiners from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

“We’re proud of the strides we’ve made broadening access to the firm, focusing on potential not pedigree. We wanted to better understand the experiences of prospective and new joiners, particularly those from lower socio economic backgrounds. By learning what's working well and what isn’t, we’ve been able to identify changes that we hope will make a significant difference to their experience.”

Ian Elliott
Chief People Officer at PwC UK

“Being a part of this project gave me a sense of relief, by providing a platform to address issues that may have gone unnoticed by individuals from more privileged backgrounds.  I found that the environment allowed open discussions about personal experiences and the impacts they have on our day to day working life, without the fear of judgement.”

Emilija Bitinaite
Associate in PwC’s tax practice who contributed to the research

Getting in and Getting Started

Supporting new joiners from lower socioeconomic backgrounds

Contact us

Hollie Crompton

Social Mobility Lead, PwC United Kingdom

Laetitia Lynn

Head of Reputation and External Affairs, PwC United Kingdom

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