Melanie Richards, Vice Chair and Social Mobility Sponsor, KPMG in the UK, explains why sharing our social mobility data is important.
One of the most complicated issues affecting business leaders today is how to attract the right talent and get the best from your workforce. We know that it is vital to recruit and retain those with the best skills but the key is also to make sure that this talent pool includes people of wide ranging experiences and opinions. Not only does this help the business, but clients and communities also benefit from a more innovative and motivated workforce.
Promoting diversity and inclusion across all areas and levels is therefore crucial because without this, we quickly become less relevant to our clients and less able to offer them the pertinent advice they need.
This means businesses have a responsibility to seek out talent from the widest possible pool available. While the traditional milk round will always have a part to play, at KPMG we have rethought and reshaped the way we recruit, introducing new entry routes into the firm for those who want to join us earlier and learn at work rather than university.
Yet, when it comes to discussing diversity people tend to think of gender or race, but social background is just as important. To highlight this, KPMG in the UK has recently published detailed workforce data outlining the socio-economic make-up of our firm. We are the first business in the UK to publish such comprehensive data which not only includes detail on employees’ education, but also comprises the occupation and education history of their parents. The firm has also published graduate and school leaver socio-economic data from the past three years, to demonstrate the impact of our efforts in ensuring we have an increasingly diverse talent pipeline.
By tracking and publishing this data, we aim to ensure the firm is held to account on diversity and inclusion and that the leadership are walking the walk on these issues rather than simply paying them lip service. In the future, we will be continuously assessing the progress we are making, and these statistics will play a vital role in helping us ensure we build on our achievements year-on-year.
Aside from the obvious benefits to business from recruiting people from different backgrounds, there are also significant benefits to the individuals and the UK economy. However, the present shortage of data makes it extremely difficult to benchmark and track whether or not business as a whole is making progress on this issue.
This means we can’t be the only ones revealing this sort of data. We need others to stand with us and report on the socio-economic structure of their workforce too. To help encourage this additional transparency, we will be working closely with experts at the Bridge Group, a charitable policy association, and also the Cabinet Office to ensure that the criteria we are assessing is correct and to standardise best practice.
In doing this, we hope to form a more robust evidence base to track the pace of change so that this data will enable government and third parties to evaluate the effectiveness of policy in the workplace.