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, to enhance the service we can provide to our clients and to make an impact that matters to our clients and to society.

Where you’re from should not determine where you’re going. However, 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.
  • 30 per cent of all A* grades at A level are achieved by children at independent schools, yet only 7 per cent of the school population attend independent schools.
  • 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, which 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. We are supporting social mobility and changing the way we recruit and support our people, to enhance the service we can provide to our clients and to make an impact that matters to our clients and to society.

What is Deloitte doing?

Social mobility is a complex issue and requires a coordinated approach. Find out what Deloitte is doing in our recruitment practices, with our clients, and in society to help address one of the UK’s toughest challenges.

In our recruitment and selection practices

In September 2015 we introduced contextualised academics which 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. In September 2016 we will be welcoming 200 students into the firm as they take their first steps in their careers through this important programme.

In summer 2015, Deloitte ASPIRE was launched, a new experience of work programme designed to give school-age students an insight into the world of the work, access to professionals to build their networks, and opportunities to develop their skills for the workplace. Deloitte ASPIRE involved 141 students, all of whom were eligible for free school meals, or attended a school with above average free school meal eligibility and would be the first in their family to go to university should they choose to go. In 2016 Deloitte ASPIRE will grow to take on 200 students across more of our regional offices.

With our people

In September 2015 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:

Data point
Survey respondents

Attended a non-selective state school


Attended an academically selective grammar school


Attended a fee-paying or private school


Attended school outside the UK, attended another type of UK school, or chose not to disclose


From families where neither of their parents or carers have a degree


Received free school meals whilst at school


From families who received Social Security benefits whilst they were at school


In 2016 we will be updating 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 2016 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.

And in society

Our twice award-nominated programme, Deloitte Access, delivered in collaboration with Teach First, is designed to raise aspiration, support achievement and provide opportunities for students in low-income communities. In September 2015 we launched the Evaluation Report of the second year of Deloitte Access highlighting the programme’s continuing success and growth.

Deloitte is 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, 17 students have joined Deloitte having taken part in UpReach.

Deloitte has 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. The firm is also a signatory to the Access Accountancy initiative, a movement for change across the accountancy profession.

And finally, 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 we’ve spoken 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.

Hear from:

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