About us

Social Mobility

It’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re going

We are supporting social mobility and changing the way we recruit and support our people this will enhance the service we provide to our clients make an impact that matters.

Where you’re from should not determine where you’re going. In the UK today the data tells a different story:

  • By the age of three, poorer children are estimated to be, on average, nine months behind children from more wealthy backgrounds.
  • By 16, children receiving free school meals achieve 1.7 grades lower at GCSE.
  • Just 7% of children in the UK attend independent schools, but 30 per cent of all A* grades at A level are achieved by these children.
  • 32% of MPs, 51% of top Medics, 54% of FTSE-100 chief execs, 54% of top journalists and 70% of High Court judges went to an independent school, compared to 7% of the population.

Why is social mobility important?

The UK has one of the poorest rates of social mobility in the developed world. This means that people born into low-income families, regardless of their talent, or their hard work, do not have the same access to opportunities as those born into more privileged circumstances.

We want to provide the best service to our clients, bringing diversity of thought to provide innovative solutions to our clients’ biggest challenges. We do this by recruiting the best people, from a diverse range of backgrounds and by creating an environment that helps everyone to succeed.

Social mobility is a complex issue and requires a coordinated approach

This is what we are doing to address one of the UK’s toughest challenges.

Our recruitment and selection practices

In September 2015 we introduced a technology which enables us to contextualise the academic achievements of our applicants. This allows our recruiters to make more informed choices about candidates by considering the context in which their academic achievements have been gained.

Contextualisation allows us to recognise these important qualifications for young people, whilst also ensuring that for example, 3Bs at A Level in a school where most students achieve 3Ds, is recognised as exceptional performance.

We have also introduced school and university-blind recruitment, ensuring that our recruiters do not consciously or unconsciously favour those who attended a certain school or university, so that job offers are made on the basis of present potential, not past personal circumstance.

For school and college leavers, we have re-designed and re-launched our BrightStart scheme, to ensure that:

  • Our attraction strategy is more closely aligned to our outreach activities;
  • Our academic requirements and selection process are accessible to all those with the ambition and potential to succeed; and
  • Once they have begun their career at Deloitte they are suitably supported with a tailored approach to pastoral care, via mentoring, buddies and coaching 

In September 2018 we will be welcoming more than 250 students into the firm as they take their first steps in their careers through this important programme.

In summer 2017, we have launched two new work experience programmes – Employability Workshops for school students in Years 10 and 11, and Career Shapers, aimed at school and college students in Years 12 and 13. These programmes have been designed to ensure that students from all backgrounds can access valuable work experience at Deloitte, and in total we have around 300 places available on these schemes this academic year.

In addition, Deloitte has been running our ASPIRE work experience programme annually since 2015. This is a week-long activity, specifically for Year 13 students who come from low socio-economic backgrounds. We partner with a number of schools and colleges on this programme, through our partnerships with Teach First and Access Accountancy; all of our target schools have high levels of eligibility for free school meals.

In 2017 Deloitte ASPIRE grew to take on 240 students across our UK-wide office network.

Social mobility and our people

During Social Mobility Week 2016 we launched a survey to obtain a representative sample of 2,000 of our people to better understand the socio-economic and educational background of our workforce. Of the 1,056 respondents, we found:

Throughout 2016 we conducted a major process to enable our core HR systems to allow data about socio-economic and educational background to be gathered from all our employees and from all subsequent new joiners to the firm. We will undertake a firm-wide data gathering exercise in 2018 to share with our people what we have found to date, engage them in the broader survey and highlight our plans to continue to address social mobility going forward.

Our approach to social mobility in society

Deloitte Access
Our mentoring programme, Deloitte Access, in collaboration with Teach First, is designed:

  • to raise aspiration
  • support achievement; and 
  • provide opportunities for students in low-income communities. 

In September 2016 we launched the Evaluation Report of the second year of Deloitte Access highlighting the programme’s continuing success and growth.

We are a founding partner of the UpReach social mobility charity and acts as a mentor to those taking part in the programme, as well as offering employment opportunities to participating students. To date, 31 students have joined Deloitte having taken part in UpReach.

We have been recognised by the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills as one of 12 Social Mobility Business Compact Champions – UK businesses who are playing a leading role on the issue of social mobility. We are also a signatory to the Access Accountancy initiative, a movement for change across the accountancy profession.

Our role at the heart of business means we have a unique part to play in engaging our clients in the issue of social mobility, not only demonstrating what we are doing to respond, but supporting and encouraging our clients in their own social mobility journey.

Case studies

As part of Social Mobility Week 2016, we spoke to several Deloitte people who have been willing to share their personal story of social mobility, or their perspectives on the importance of supporting people from low-income backgrounds and creating equality of opportunity.

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