Shocking Revelation: UK Employers Focusing More on Outreach Than Actual Hiring of Working-Class Candidates

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Key Takeaways:

  • Recent research reveals a significant gap in UK employers’ commitment to hiring and retaining candidates from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds (LSEBs).
  • While 87% of employers aim to advance social mobility by reaching out to LSEB candidates, only 52% act on recruitment, and even fewer on retention.
  • The UK lags in social mobility, highlighting the need for more substantial and impactful actions from businesses and educators.

Subtitle: Bridging the Social Mobility Gap: A Critical Look at UK Employers’ Approach to Inclusion and Diversity


A Call for Social Mobility and Inclusion

The UK’s approach to social mobility, particularly in the business sector, is facing scrutiny. A new study conducted by Making The Leap, a societal change charity, reveals a concerning trend among UK employers regarding their engagement with candidates from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds.

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The Stark Reality of Employer Engagement

Disproportionate Focus on Outreach Over Action

The research highlights a disproportionate focus on outreach to working-class candidates compared to actual recruitment and retention efforts. While a majority of employers (87%) are committed to advancing social mobility through outreach, only just over half (52%) take concrete steps in recruitment.

Decline in Retention and Inclusion Efforts

Notably, the study shows a decline in retention and inclusion actions for LSEB candidates, falling from 53% in 2022 to only 35% in 2023. This indicates a worrying trend where initial efforts to attract diverse candidates do not translate into long-term inclusion strategies.

Social Mobility in the UK: A Grim Picture

The UK’s Global Standing in Social Mobility

The state of social mobility in the UK is one of the worst among developed nations, ranking 12th out of 14 in a recent study. This underscores a significant challenge in creating equal opportunities for career advancement across different socio-economic groups.

The Underrepresentation of LSEB Individuals

In key sectors like medicine, law, and journalism, individuals from LSEB are notably underrepresented. Furthermore, a substantial class pay gap exists, with an average earning difference of £6,718 less per year for people from less affluent backgrounds.

Insights from Industry Leaders

Tunde Banjoko OBE on the Need for Real Change

Tunde Banjoko OBE, Founder of the UK Social Mobility Awards, emphasizes the need for more substantial actions to make social mobility a reality in the UK. He calls for organizations to learn from best practices and understand how to effectively advance social mobility in the workplace.

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Sir Kenneth Olisa OBE on Inclusive Workplace Cultures

Sir Kenneth Olisa OBE, Chair of the UK Social Mobility Awards judging panel, points out that true workplace culture extends beyond superficial perks. An inclusive culture values and learns from the diverse experiences of all employees, irrespective of their backgrounds.

The Role of the UK Social Mobility Awards (SOMOs)

Recognizing Efforts in Advancing Social Mobility

The SOMOs, organized by Making The Leap, play a pivotal role in recognizing and celebrating employers and educators committed to social mobility. They also serve as a platform for informing and inspiring wider action in this crucial area.

2023 Winners: Leading the Way

The winners of the 2023 UK Social Mobility Awards, including organizations like Landsec, BPP, and Greene King, demonstrate exemplary practices in advancing social mobility. Their initiatives offer valuable insights for other organizations aiming to improve their socio-economic diversity efforts.

Conclusion: The Urgent Need for Holistic Action

Moving Beyond Outreach to Genuine Inclusion

The findings of the report highlight an urgent need for UK employers to move beyond just outreach. There’s a pressing necessity to implement effective recruitment and retention strategies that truly advance social mobility.

The Path Forward

As the UK strives to improve its standing in social mobility, the corporate sector must play a critical role. Embracing a holistic approach that encompasses outreach, recruitment, and retention will be key to ensuring equal opportunities and a more inclusive workforce for all socio-economic backgrounds.

This article sheds light on the alarming findings of a recent study on social mobility in the UK, revealing the significant gap between employers’ outreach efforts and actual hiring and retention of working-class candidates. It underscores the need for a more comprehensive approach to socio-economic diversity and inclusion in the business sector, highlighting the role of organizations and awards like the UK Social Mobility Awards in driving this crucial change.

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