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Social Mobility

UK businesses striving to improve social mobility; which still lags in world rankings

Working-class candidates fear background will negatively impact their job prospects

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35% of employers acted on retention and inclusion for candidates.
The state of social mobility in the UK is one of the worst in the developed world.
People from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds need the opportunity to succeed.

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New research on social mobility reveals that only 35% of employers acted on retention and inclusion for candidates from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds (LSEB) in 2023 – down from 53% in 2022.

The UK Social Mobility Awards (SOMOs), organised by grassroots societal change charity Making The Leap, is a nationwide initiative that celebrates employers and educators – informing and inspiring wider action on social mobility.

Whilst 87% of UK employers committed to advancing social mobility by reaching out to LSEB candidates, only 52% took action on recruiting people from these backgrounds – a notable reduction from 75% in 2022. Employers were more likely to report progression initiatives in 2023 (31%) compared to 23% in 2022.

The new report also highlighted best practices in advancing social mobility, including using data to inform strategies and work being driven by passionate leadership. It found the most effective approaches were intersectional, meaning employers understood the multiple workplace barriers faced by LSEB individuals who also identified as disabled, female, LGBT+, racially minoritised, or as part of marginalised groups.

31% of young LSEB people concerned that their backgrounds will negatively impact their career

The state of social mobility in the UK is one of the worst in the developed world, ranking 12 out of 14 in a recent study, with 31% of young LSEB people concerned that their backgrounds will negatively impact their career prospects.

Existing research shows that people from LSEBs are underrepresented across key sectors in the UK, such as medicine, law and journalism, and a significant class pay gap shows an average earning of £6,718 less per year than colleagues from more affluent backgrounds.

Tunde Banjoko OBE, Founder of the UK Social Mobility Awards, said: “The annual Advancing Social Mobility research report clearly shows that there is still further to go before social mobility is a reality in the UK. The research shows employers are making progress in some areas, but more action needs to be taken to give people from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds (LSEBs) the opportunity to succeed. The report is a valuable resource to help organisations to learn from best practices and to understand how to advance social mobility in the workplace.”

The full SOMOs 23 report can be found here

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