EY applauded for action on social mobility

21 June 2017

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  • The firm listed in the first-ever Social Mobility Employer Index

EY has been recognised as one of the UK’s top 20 employers in the inaugural Social Mobility Employer Index, launched today.

A joint initiative between the Social Mobility Foundation and Social Mobility Commission - in partnership with the City of London Corporation - the index ranks Britain’s employers on the actions they are taking to access and progress talent from all backgrounds. Nearly 100 employers from 17 sectors were considered, with the top 50 published.

Ranked 16th in the index, EY was noted for transforming its student recruitment process by removing academic entry criteria, which resulted in a 75% increase in applications. EY was also recognised for creating 200 apprenticeship vacancies – the EY Business Apprenticeship – which was awarded ‘Best School Leaver programme’ at the 2017 TARGETjobs awards in April.

Initiatives to help disadvantaged young people access quality work experience were also cited. Last year 211 pupils from 150 schools participated in the EY Foundation’s Smart Futures and Our Future programmes, supported by over 716 EY volunteers and mentors.

The EY Foundation is a UK charity that helps young people, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds, find successful routes into employment and education. The Foundation also provides support for social enterprises run by or which support young people, further enabling them to realise their potential.

Mandy Love, EY’s Partner sponsor for social mobility, UK & Ireland said: “We work hard to provide opportunities for young people from all backgrounds to access a professional career and to consider EY as a place where they can thrive.

"It is a commercial imperative for our business to recruit and retain talented individuals from all walks of life, in order to draw on the broadest spectrum of views and perspectives.

“A collective approach with our peers, other employers and government will help to achieve greater social mobility for Britain’s young people.”

Earlier this year EY released statistics demonstrating the impact of the changes it had made to its student recruitment process. By removing academic entry criteria, the firm saw the proportion of students (school leavers, graduates and interns) from state schools and those who are first in their family to go to University, increase by 10 percentage points and 7 percentage points respectively.

In March 2016, EY was one of eleven companies to be named a Social Mobility Business Compact champion by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. The Government standard recognises employers who are leading the way in opening up the world of work to young people from all backgrounds, setting an example to others, and helping to increase the pace of change to improve social mobility.

David Johnston, chief executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, said: “All the Top 50 firms in the Social Mobility Employer Index should be applauded for the progress they are making towards ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to get in and get on – regardless of their background.

“While no one firm has cracked the issue and there is still progress to be made, they should be congratulated both for having prioritised social mobility and for being prepared to have their processes and practices independently scrutinised.”

The Rt Hon Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility Commission, added: “Improving the UK’s dismal social mobility record requires new action by employers and not just governments. It is very welcome that more employers are changing their workforce strategies to ensure they don’t lose out on talented people from less privileged backgrounds. The top 50 are paving the way and I thank them for their efforts. Where they are leading, I hope others will follow. 

“The annual publication of this Index aims to shine a light on how and where progress is being made. Employers that have employees at all levels from a rich variety of social backgrounds are better placed to meet the demands and uncertainties of today’s world. Social mobility is good for employers. And employers can make a major contribution to creating a more mobile society.”