3 April

Power of Inclusion Social Mobility Workshop Series: The Cost of Living Crisis

On the 28th of February, The Lord Mayor’s Appeal held the first Power of Inclusion workshop of 2023 focusing on social mobility and the cost-of-living crisis. Organisations across the City gathered at our host organisation, Ashurst’s, office to participate in roundtable discussions and collaborate for change.  

Dan Robertson, Director at Vercida Consulting and Chair of the Power of Inclusion Senior Leadership Forum, chaired the event and welcomed guests with a reminder of the history of the Power of Inclusion initiative and the power of working together to create inclusive workplaces across the City and beyond. 

Former Lord Mayor and Partner at DLA Piper, Alderman Vincent Keaveny, also spoke, and highlighted the link between social mobility, the cost of living crisis and mayoral agendas. His Mayoral theme ‘People and Purpose: Investing in a Better Tomorrow’ allowed him to promote greater social mobility, and greater socio-economic diversity in the financial and professional services. The current Lord Mayor, Alderman Nicholas Lyons, is also addressing financial literacy, financial inclusion and financial resilience as a direct response to the cost-of-living crisis. 

Keynote speaker, Sarah Churchman OBE, Chief Inclusion and Wellbeing Officer at PwC, brought the subject to life through real world insight into the work being undertaken at PwC in particular their focus on three priority areas: inclusion, community and advocacy and they aim to leverage the creativity of their people to address social mobility. This keynote encouraged a practical focus for the room, who later engaged in roundtable discussions.  

An example of the work PwC are doing is their New World New Skills programme, which allows Year 12 students to gain paid work experience with paid travel, paid lunch and a laptop they are able to keep at the end of the programme. Additionally, to support socio-economic background data collection, under their flexible benefits scheme, staff must update their personal information before they can choose their benefits. Role modelling is considered very important at PwC and senior leaders from lower socio-economic backgrounds are encouraged to share their stories.   

The Chair, Dan Robertson, then introduced the roundtable discussion topics to attendees and encouraged them to identify key challenges in progressing social mobility in their organisations in the context of a cost-of-living crisis and to consider what actions their organisations are taking to increase opportunities for those from lower social-economic background?  

Highlights of the discussions:  

  • One-off cost-of-living payments for lower earning employees 

  • Blind recruitment and the need for accountability  

  • Outreach programmes, internships, reverse mentorship 

  • Smaller organisations present discussed not having the same level of resource as larger organisations – highlighting the importance of organisations with resources and expertise sharing information and opportunities to work with other organisations 

  • Amplifying the work of partners and portfolio companies 

  • Providing financial support and knowledge to teams 

  • The value of accessing schools earlier with work experience opportunities i.e. reaching young people aged 12-14, before they choose GCSE options 

  • Upfront payment for work experience and internships to ensure young people can afford travel and accommodation 

  • Introducing a target for partners and directors to be from a low socioeconomic background. (KPMG’s target is 29% of partners and directors to come from a working class background by 2030) 

The session and feedback from each table highlighted the value of collaborating to share practical actions being taken in organisations across the City and beyond. We look forward to coming together again soon to tackle another topic related to social mobility. In the meantime, you can sign up to the Power of Inclusion Hub to access relevant resources. 

Keep an eye on our Events page for information about the next Power of Inclusion workshop on July 5th or email inclusion@thelordmayorsappeal.org  

Check out the speaker recordings on our YouTube page here

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