City Corporation breaks into top 40 for social mobility

The City of London Corporation has entered the Top 40 in a national league table of organisations which work to attract and progress talent from a wide range of backgrounds.

The Square Mile’s governing body ranks 40th in the Social Mobility Employer Index 2021, having breached the top 50 for the first time last year.

The City Corporation, which worked with the Social Mobility Foundation to set up the scheme four years ago, continues its upward progress having moved up from 66th place in 2018, 56th in 2019 and 50th last year.

The organisation, which launched its 10-year Social Mobility Strategy in 2018, was praised for its work in areas including its work with young people, recruitment and selection processes and data collection.

The Index was set up to address the fact that a disproportionate number of people from affluent backgrounds, private schools and elite universities get top jobs.

City of London Corporation Policy Chair and Chair of the Socio-Economic Diversity Taskforce Catherine McGuinness said:

“Throughout the country, we see those at the top being drawn from a narrow background, and this is particularly acute in professional sectors.

“Without doubt, this is bad for business. We have a rich talent pool with huge potential in the UK, but people of all backgrounds must be able to access the opportunities that companies offer.

“Our continued progress up the rankings in the Index is an encouraging sign that the wide-ranging measures laid out in our Social Mobility Strategy are bearing fruit.

“We will continue to work to promote equality of opportunity and to ensure everyone can access the skills and opportunities they need to thrive.”

The City Corporation was praised by the Social Mobility Foundation for its outreach work at schools with high levels of under-privileged young people, which it said was improving students’ confidence and understanding of the sector.

It also received plaudits for using anonymised recruitment and standardised interview questions and for offering opportunities to job candidates with lower levels of academic attainment.

The City Corporation leads the Government-commissioned Socio-Economic Diversity Taskforce, which has over 100 employers represented across UK financial and professional services.

Its vision is for equity of progression, where performance is valued over ‘fit' or 'polish’. It aims to incentivise employer action, provide a safe space for collaboration, and build the business case for socio-economic diversity at senior levels.

More information about the Taskforce, as well as the first in a series of podcasts on why social diversity matters, featuring Lord Mayor Vincent Keaveny, is available at www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/WhoGetsAhead

A total of 203 organisations employing over 1 million people, including major retailers, financial institutions and Government departments, participated in the Social Mobility Employer Index.

More information is at www.socialmobility.org.uk/index

Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK – www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

About the Social Mobility Foundation

The Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) is a charity that aims to make practical improvements in social mobility for young people from low-income backgrounds through its Aspiring Professional Programme, its Social Mobility Employer Index, and its advocacy and campaigning arm, the Department for Opportunities (DO).

Currently taking on a new cohort of over 2,000 young people every year, the SMF has offices in Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Newcastle and runs programmes for young people from the Isle of Wight to the Western Isles of Scotland across 11 career sectors (Accountancy, Architecture, Banking & Finance, Biology & Chemistry, Business, Engineering & Physics, Law, Media & Communications, Medicine, Politics, and Digital). 

About the Social Mobility Employer Index

The Social Mobility Employer Index was launched in 2017 and has grown to become the leading authority on employer-led social mobility. It assesses and ranks UK employers on the actions they take to ensure they are open to talent from all social backgrounds.

The Social Mobility Employer Index is comprised of two elements: questions directed at employers, and an employee survey which was introduced in 2018. Employers are evaluated across seven areas: their work with young people, routes into the employer, the attraction of staff, recruitment and selection, data collection, progression of staff and experienced hires and advocacy. The employee survey adds qualitative insights and contextualises the data provided in the employer submissions. Employers are then benchmarked against one another based on the results. The data and insights from this process are published in an annual Key Findings Report which features a ranking of the 75 top-performing employers on social mobility that year.