Social mobility reporting in the FTSE 350

Social mobility continues to be a key issue in the UK, with a young person’s future far too often being determined by household income and postcode. Along with educators and policy makers, employers have a role in reducing this social divide and it is great that, as fairness and equality rise up the board agenda, companies are thinking about diversity in its broadest sense as they seek to address and remove barriers in the workplace.

This year, PwC launched a new category in the Building Public Trust Awards called Workforce Fairness. The ‘Workforce Fairness in the FTSE 350 Award’ recognises those companies that report in an authentic and accessible way and how they think about their employees and wider community. One of the areas we measured was reporting on social mobility and the initiatives in place to address social mobility gaps.  However, detailed reporting here is still in its early days.  Many organisations do not have the data on the socio-economic background of employees. 

The most successful annual reports that covered social mobility, described their apprenticeship programmes, and detailed how many young individuals had benefited from the apprenticeships and their outreach work in the community. One company which scored highly under our criteria detailed how they had created an initiative to prepare young and underprivileged individuals for the technologically advanced workplace.  Others are addressing blind spots in recruitment, mentorship and changing criteria for graduates. 

As organisations prepare for disruption - in the short and longer term, I think it is crucial that enabling and harnessing the power of a diverse workforce is essential for an organisation’s success.  Innovation and growth will be powered by this - and ensuring a level playing field of opportunity should be on the HR to do list to tap into the most diverse talent as possible.

More information will follow on this as we announce the winners of the Workforce Fairness, Building Public Trust Award on 29th November.

Alastair Woods

Alastair Woods | Partner, Reward
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