Top 50 employer for social mobility

21 Jun 2017

International law firm Simmons & Simmons has been named as one of the Top 50 employers in the UK’s first-ever Social Mobility Employer Index.

The Index is a joint initiative between the Social Mobility Foundation and Social Mobility Commission, in partnership with the City of London Corporation.

It ranks Britain’s employers for the first time on the actions they are taking to ensure they are open to accessing and progressing talent from all backgrounds and showcases progress towards improving social mobility in the workplace.

Simmons & Simmons has been ranked 27 in the Index for the work the firm has taken to tackle this and enable those from lower socio-economic backgrounds to succeed.

Colin Passmore, senior partner at Simmons & Simmons said: “Social mobility remains a critical issue for organisations like ours and across the City of London. We are therefore pleased to be included in this ranking albeit we recognise there is so much more to be done.

Highlights for Simmons & Simmons includes introducing an online graduate judgement test which focuses on how candidates think, as opposed to reviewing their work experience and hobbies. This allows us to level the playing field and assess candidates on specific job relevant skills and, more importantly, their potential to forge a successful career at our firm.

I am also exceptionally pleased with the ongoing success of our Young Talent Programme, where we provide young people from Walthamstow with work experience opportunities at our firm and our client organisations that they would not otherwise have access to.

Being included in the Social Mobility Index ranking allows us to monitor the impact of our initiatives and to see where we can continue to make progress.”

David Johnston, chief executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, said: “All the Top 50 firms in the Social Mobility Employer Index should be applauded for the progress they are making towards ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to get in and get on – regardless of their background. They should be congratulated both for having prioritised social mobility and for being prepared to have their processes and practices independently scrutinised.”

The Rt Hon Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility Commission, added: “Social mobility is hugely important if the UK is to become more productive and make the most of its talent. But research has shown that people from working class backgrounds – even if they are high educational attainers – are less likely to secure professional jobs because they have less access to the networks and knowledge to navigate the system.

“The Top 50 firms are paving the way by changing their workforce strategies to ensure they get don’t lose out on talented people from less privileged backgrounds. We want the index to herald a step change towards improving social mobility by encouraging many more employers to compete to recruit, and keep, the best and brightest candidates – regardless of background.”

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chairman for the City of London Corporation, said: “These firms have shown real ambition in their approach to tackling social mobility. They are leading the way in removing the barriers which are holding back the best and brightest candidates in our society. Statistics show that people from more prosperous backgrounds, who attend private schools and elite universities, often take a disproportionate number of the best jobs.

“But more companies are making progress on social mobility, casting the net wider in the search for talent and recognising that a level playing field is in the best interests for all businesses. The Index is an effective incentive to UK businesses to demonstrate the progress they are making in this vital area".

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