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News release

Grant Thornton named leading social mobility employer

Leading business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP has been ranked at No. 2 in the Social Mobility Employer Index 2020, the leading authority on employer best practice, demonstrating the firm’s ongoing commitment to levelling the playing field for people from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Employers are assessed across seven key areas, these include their work with young people, routes into the organisation, how they attract talent, recruitment and selection, data collection, progression, experienced hires, and advocacy.

Grant Thornton has prioritised social mobility for over five years and has a market leading approach, advancing change informed and driven by data.  The firm’s goal is to create an environment where everyone can thrive.   This is achieved by using data to identify and remove barriers to progression and by influencing collaboration across the profession.

Grant Thornton has consistently ranked as a top 10 social mobility employer since the launch of the Index in 2017. Core measures the firm has introduced to improve social mobility include:

  • Detailed pay and progression dashboards that allow leaders to review reward and progression alongside socio-economic background
  • Published the firm’s detailed social mobility background data for the first time in 2020, including the proportion of Partners who received free school meals
  • Advanced data collection used to update intersectionality analysis - reviewed the correlations between employees’ socio-economic background, gender and ethnicity and rates of progression, performance, reward, retention and lateral hiring
  • Target non-Russell Group universities with above average levels of students from lower socio-economic backgrounds when promoting our graduate, internship and placement year programmes. This has positively impacted the diversity of the firm’s trainee hires as the number of hires eligible for free school meals has doubled (6-12%) in the past year
  • 304 work experience students have benefitted from the Access Accountancy programme (aimed at those from lower socio-economic backgrounds) since 2015 and we have grown the programme in response to the pandemic
  • 3,000 students across the UK have been reached through Grant Thornton’s School Enterprise Programme, which develops financial and entrepreneurial skills for pupils in years seven and eight
  • Through partnerships with charities Breaking Barriers and Business in the Community, Grant Thornton has supported 43 refugees with coaching, skills development and work placements designed to help them find meaningful employment

Karen Campbell-Williams, Partner and Board Sponsor for Social Mobility at Grant Thornton UK LLP, said:

“At Grant Thornton we’re passionate about creating an environment where everyone can thrive. Our mission is to identify and remove barriers to entry and progression, not just at our firm, but across the professional services industry and in the wider community.  

“Our approach has always been driven by data, and we’re proud of the progress we’ve recently made in both data collection and reporting. This strong data results in well-targeted outreach with schools that have above average levels of Free School Meals and/or low levels of attainment and with our outreach in social mobility cold spots, through our work with ICAEW Rise.

“However, there’s more work to be done.  The most recent (2019) State of the Nation report from the Social Mobility Commission found the UK’s better off are still 80% more likely to make it into professional jobs than those from working-class backgrounds. In the context of a global pandemic and economic recession, it’s more important than ever that we continue to play our part in improving opportunity for everyone.”

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