6 December

Power of Inclusion breakfast addresses social mobility beyond hiring practices

Last week, The Lord Mayor’s Appeal’s final Power of Inclusion workshop of 2023 took place at the City offices of Linklaters LLP. Over 40 representatives of City businesses came together to hear keynote speeches and participate in roundtable discussions that explored how to address social mobility beyond hiring practices. Attendees explored the importance and benefits of establishing a sense of belonging for employees from all socioeconomic backgrounds and discussed the steps they are taking to create a sense of belonging. Speeches and discussions also dug into the topic of collecting and tracking socioeconomic background data beyond the recruitment stage and how this allows us to monitor the link between socioeconomic background and progression/retention.

This workshop is the third and final of the year in the Power of Inclusion’s Social Mobility Workshop Series, which will continue to tackle social mobility throughout 2024 by tackling key issues within the space. The initiative by The Lord Mayor’s Appeal aims to create a City that is inclusive and open to everyone regardless of background to share best practice on policies and programmes and collaborate for effective change. Participating organisations are encouraged to build connections with each other to strengthen their social mobility strategies.

The chair of the workshop, Dan Robertson, Director of VERCIDA Consulting and Power of Inclusion Senior Leadership Forum Chair, welcomed guests and gave an overview of how the Power of Inclusion initiative breaks down barriers to inclusion by empowering organisations to create inclusive workplace cultures.

The Lady Mayoress, Elisabeth Mainelli, thanked guests for participating in the Power of Inclusion initiative and encouraged them to join us in making 2024 a year of progress for social mobility within the City. The Lady Mayoress’ opening remarks were followed by a warm welcome from Jenny Lloyd, Head of UK DEI and Wellbeing at Linklaters, who kindly supported the workshop by providing a space and delicious breakfast for attendees.

Next, Dipi McKernan, a Board Member of Progress Together, provided guests with insight into Progress Together’s recent report, Shaping our Economy. Through data collected by Progress Together members, involving just under 150,000 participants, the report demonstrates that socioeconomic background is more likely to impact a person’s route to success in financial services than gender or ethnicity. Guests were encouraged to read the report for further findings and recommendations on Progress Together’s website.

Following this research overview, two keynote speeches provided insight into what organisations are currently doing to successfully create a sense of belonging for employees from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Tabitha Hutton, Inclusion & Diversity Manager at Grant Thornton UK LLP delved into the work taking place at Grant Thornton to create a sense of belonging and community. A key initiative in the business is a Social Mobility Tea Break series, which are regular 30-minute discussions on a topic potentially of interest to those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, such as financial wellbeing or barriers, bias and discrimination related to socioeconomic background. The tea breaks aim to give physiological permission for people to talk about experiences and have inspired further senior leader involvement in the social mobility strategy.

The next keynote speech by Jane Edwarde, Partner at Slaughter and May focused on the experience of becoming the first major law firm to set social mobility targets, how they collect and track socioeconomic background data and strengthen disclosure rates by creating a sense of belonging. This helped to encourage conversations on where organisations in the room are on their journey so far regarding data collection and how we can learn from each other to take the first steps into collecting data or strengthen the use of this data to examine inclusion and belonging.

The room then participated in detailed roundtable discussions to further explore the themes covered by the speeches. Discussions touched on various organisations plans to begin socioeconomic background pay gap reporting, the value of reverse mentoring and need for guidance on how this looks, the power of authentic leadership and what belonging looks like within a workplace.

Find out how you can make your workspace more inclusive here 

Access speaker recordings from this and all previous Power of Inclusion events and webinars here 

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