Social Mobility

Social Mobility

Working hard to promote social mobility across the UK

Working hard to promote social mobility across the UK

One of the key challenges facing organisations is talent. How to recruit it, retain it and reward it to help drive real success. For a firm like KPMG where our product and greatest asset is our people, it quite rightly is at the top of the agenda. For us having a socially diverse workforce underpins our commercial strategy to help improve the performance of our firm. 

Social mobility is not only an increasingly important factor in how we organise ourselves and recruit talented people to the Firm, it is also the golden thread that runs through almost all of our Corporate Responsibility programmes. 

As one of Government’s 11 founding Social Mobility Business Compact Champions, and a winner of the inaugural Queen’s Award for Promoting Opportunity (through social mobility) we aim to lead the way in making a lasting difference to social mobility by weaving it into the fabric of our firm.

In December 2016 KPMG became the first business in the UK to publish comprehensive data on the socio-economic background of its workforce.

Social mobility in numbers

In financial year 2016 more than 16,300 individuals were directly supported through our social mobility programmes. KPMG employees contributed over 30,800 hours of volunteering and pro bono work to the wider community in support of social mobility.

 

We focus on six key issues that we believe can help drive real change using the skills and experience of our people:

Preparing young people for the world of work

Recruiting the most talented people is critical to our business model but poor employment skills and a lack of meaningful careers advice and work experience can prevent some young people reaching their potential – especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

In financial year 2016, we worked with over 100 schools and colleges across the UK, supporting more than 9,000 young people, sharing our experience of the world of work, improving skills and increasing academic achievement.

At our co-sponsored school, The City Academy, Hackney we provide strategic support to the senior leadership through our Executive Committee sponsor and five Governors; we offer financial assistance; and deliver a suite of work-related learning opportunities to c.350 students per year, from literacy and debating provision, to subject-specific tutoring, mentoring and work experience. 

The Academy is currently judged as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted and its GCSE results are among the best for state schools in the whole country, with 83% of pupils achieving A*-C, including English and Maths. 

Working towards everyone having an equal chance of accessing the profession

At KPMG, we recognise the benefits in recruiting talented people from diverse backgrounds to ensure our business mirrors the communities we work in and serve.

We were the driving force behind Access Accountancy, an ambitious sector wide initiative designed to improve access to the accountancy profession for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds; Access Accountancy is now backed by 28 firms and professional bodies. 

KPMG’s flagship work placement programme, the ‘Discovery programme’, in support of Access Accountancy, aims to raise awareness of opportunities into the profession for young people and to help build a diverse pipeline for KPMG’s school and college leaver programmes. In financial year 2016 the firm delivered over 320 placements across our UK offices. 

We are an industry leader in developing programmes for school and college leavers to widen participation – we continue to grow KPMG360°, an apprenticeship programme that will develop the next generation of talent from a wide variety of backgrounds, using the Government’s Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standards. 

Improving literacy for young people

Literacy is a core enabler of social mobility. Primary and secondary school students who are eligible for free school meals score up to 19 percentage points lower in their literacy skills than their peers (Department for Education) and the CBI has found that 37% of businesses are dissatisfied with young people’s literacy skills and use of English.

We work directly with young people to improve their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills - in financial year 2016 almost 200 KPMG volunteers gave over 1,000 hours in support of activity specifically aimed at improving literacy in less advantaged communities.

In addition to our suite of community literacy programmes, our partnership with the National Literacy Trust continues to focus on reframing the UK’s literacy policy and convening business around this issue. As a member of the National Literacy Forum we co-developed the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge - which highlights the commitment of business to tackling the literacy crisis across the UK. We were the first signatory to the pledge in 2015 and have convened other businesses to discuss and help tackle the issue, with over 50 companies signing the pledge in 2017. 

Tackling youth homelessness

The UK is not building enough homes – and hasn’t done so for decades. The consequences of this are having a severe and lasting impact on people’s lives and on the country itself. 

Published in May 2014, KPMG and Shelter co-authored a landmark affordable housing report, Building the homes we need: A programme for the 2015 government. The report called on government to tackle and turn the tide on England’s chronic housing shortage.

In 2016 KPMG embarked on a journey to drive a focussed approach to help tackle youth homelessness in the UK. Our commitment to homelessness is part of KPMG’s overall commitment to social mobility and in particular support for secure and affordable housing. 

We have hosted a number of events for those who are homeless or transitioning back to work.  This has included mentoring, skills workshops, experience of the working environment at KPMG and a residential weekend with sessions on confidence building, life skills and advice on returning to work.

Tackling low pay through the Living Wage

The Living Wage is an hourly rate of pay calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK – currently £9.75 in London and £8.45 outside the capital. By being paid a living wage, people can be freed from living in working poverty.

In 2006, KPMG was not only one of the very first employers to pay the Living Wage to its employees and contracted staff, we also became a key driver of the Living Wage campaign.

We believe that it’s not only the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense in terms of greater motivation, productivity and staff retention. 

We work closely with the Living Wage Foundation and each year we publish an authoritative report highlighting the current trends in household finances and the numbers of workers earning less than the Living Wage.  The 2016 report revealed that 5.6 million UK workers earn below the real Living Wage.

Encouraging youth leadership

Half of the world's population is made up of young people under the age of 30 (UNESCO). They are tomorrow's business, government and society leaders. 

At KPMG we want to enable young people from all backgrounds to shape the future rather than letting it be predetermined by circumstances outside their control.

Read more

Recognition for KPMG’s Social Mobility Work