The Social Mobility Foundation Employer Index 2022

The Social Mobility Foundation released its Employer Index earlier this month. One of the starkest findings from the leading authority on employer-led social mobility, was a survey of 16–18-year-olds which found that 70% of young people from lower social and economic backgrounds (LSEBs) see the cost-of-living as among the three most important issues facing the country; and nearly half (47%) listed the cost-of-living as a major personal worry.

To help combat this, the report highlighted proactive approaches organisations are taking to respond to the crisis; for example, ‘Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer conducts technological surveys to identify digital poverty and purchase equipment, which can then be kept after the work experience ends.’

Organisations must also commit to paying all employees including interns. According to the report, ‘in 2022, 8% of entrants hosted unpaid internships, while a further 15% only paid travel. This means nearly 500 people were expected to work without any pay at all, while more than 8,000 were paid only their transport.’

There was progress towards providing further opportunities for young people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds - ‘the proportion of Index entrants with internships ringfenced for young people from LSEBs increased this year - 44% did so in 2022 up from 29% in 2020 and 37% in 2021. Meanwhile organisations are urged to collect socioeconomic data on unsuccessful applicants and geographic mobility data despite the fact that ‘the ability to move to access better jobs and higher wages is heavily influenced by socioeconomic background, particularly at a time when the cost-of-living is soaring.’

149 companies entered the Social Mobility Employer Index in 2022, compared to 203 last year. We hope this number soars in the years ahead, particularly during the cost-of-living crisis when it’s ever more essential that organisations continue to prioritise social mobility initiatives. One of the recommendations from the index report encourages employees to share social mobility stories.

Check out our Change Starts Together storytelling campaign here 

Access resources to support with developing storytelling within your organisation by joining our Power of Inclusion Hub here 

Finally, we want to congratulate many of our fantastic corporate partners who made the top 75 list this year. We’re pleased to know that our partners are making positive steps towards improving socioeconomic diversity in the workplace across all levels.

Well done to…

  • PwC
  • DLA Piper
  • Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
  • Fidelity International
  • Linklaters LLP
  • Schroders

We asked Stuart Warner, Head of Technology at Fidelity International what being recognised in the index meant to him...

“I’m delighted that Fidelity’s efforts to champion social mobility have resulted in us being recognised as a Top 75 employer.  We want to play our part in breaking down barriers and placement in the index can only strengthen our resolve to be a force for good in advancing change.”  

Our industry-leading forum and workshop series, Power of Inclusion, breaks down barriers to inclusion by empowering organisations to create inclusive workplace cultures that foster belonging, take an intersectional approach to social mobility, and normalise conversations about class.

In 2023, we will focus on raising awareness and giving businesses practical tools to increase social mobility within their workplace. Member organisations collaborate for change, hear about innovative programmes that have already proven successful, and share lessons learned.

Find out more about our upcoming Power of Inclusion 2023 Events including our first in Q1 2023 which will address the current cost of living and the immediate impact on businesses here

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