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We believe our profession should be representative of our diverse society. To achieve this we work tirelessly to widen access and remove barriers to our firm to those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
We are proud to be a ‘Champion’ of the UK Government’s Social Mobility Business Compact and ranked as the top employer in the inaugural 2017 Social Mobility Employer Index and Number 2 in this year’s Index.
We have also been awarded The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the ‘Promoting Opportunity’ category, in recognition of the firm’s actions to help improve social mobility in the workplace.
Here are six ways we are keeping our promise to advance social mobility:
Working with young people
At Grant Thornton we want to ensure we have a level playing field for all our candidates regardless of their background or academic attainment. Having offices throughout the UK means we work closely with a wide range of schools, colleges and universities. This ensures that young people in areas of social disadvantage (also known as cold spots) have opportunities to engage with us and understand more about business and entrepreneurship.
Offering routes into our firm
Students can join our firm through a range of graduate and non-graduate entry routes including:
- graduate and school leaver/apprenticeship training programmes with professional qualifications
- paid, structured internship programmes
- work experience providing clear career pathways into our profession
We are a founding signatory of Access Accountancy. A collaboration of firms and professional bodies working towards everyone having equal chances of accessing the accountancy profession based on merit not background.
Letting students know about opportunities
Across a wide range of schools, colleges and universities throughout the UK, students can meet our school champion teams. This includes a large number of non-Russell Group universities and schools in social mobility cold spots.
Our trainees independently run Spilling the Beans, an award winning blog providing online career support and glimpses of our firm and profession.
Selecting potential over past performance
In 2013, we changed how we recruit trainee talent to help provide level access to our firm for students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
We focus on assessing potential over past performance by:
- removing academic entry requirements as a barrier to entry for trainee talent programmes
- providing 1:1 professional career coaching before and after digital interview
- giving access to online peer-to-peer support for all candidates during our recruitment process
- removing any weighting around wider extra-curricular activities and work experience from our application process
Measuring and evaluating impact
To make sure we understand the socioeconomic challenges and measure the impact of our initiatives, we collate, monitor and analyse the background of our candidates and people.
In 2016, the Bridge Group, independently analysed 20,000 of our trainee candidates and validated that as a result of the changes to our trainee selection and assessment strategy, our approach to recruitment:
- has no adverse impact on students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds
- has widened the socioeconomic diversity of our trainee intake and
- that trainees with lower academic results are performing at the same level or better than those who would have met our previous academic requirements.
Joining forces with those who share our values
We are vocal advocates for social inclusion and work with the government, leading academic institutions, our clients, competitors and alongside the Social Mobility Foundation, the Bridge Group and the Sutton Trust - organisations who share our values and commitment to improved social mobility.
Social mobility is key to our purpose, in the words of our CEO, Sacha Romanovitch: “Unlocking the potential of all in society to contribute fully is key to the future of the UK, where we have an opportunity to build a vibrant economy where no one is left behind. Increasing social mobility is a practical way for business to make a difference.”