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Deloitte is a Top 75 employer for social mobility

8 October 2019

Deloitte has been ranked sixth (out of 75) in the UK’s Social Mobility Employer Index.

The Index is the creation of the Social Mobility Foundation and ranks Britain’s employers on the actions they are taking to ensure they are open to accessing and progressing talent from all socio-economic backgrounds.

Deloitte has been praised for actions it has taken towards improving social mobility in the workplace, specifically increasing the number of opportunities for work experience placements. Deloitte’s intake of apprentices has grown substantially over the past few years; from 113 in 2016, to nearly 280 in 2019 and now represents 19% of student intake. The firm is also looking carefully at all routes of entry in to the firm and is currently targeting 43 non-Russell Group Universities.

Deloitte implemented contextualised recruitment in 2015. This approach uses an algorithm to flag candidates from a low socio-economic background who are "outperforming the norm" for their school or college. Over the past three years, Deloitte has hired 330 students who would otherwise not have passed the initial screening without the intervention of Rare Recruitment’s contextualised recruitment tool.

In 2016, the firm launched a five year social impact strategy to help improve the lives of one million people. One Million Futures sees the firm working with more than 60 charities, schools and social enterprises across the UK. By the end of the financial year for 2019, 890,000 futures had been impacted by this work.

Dimple Agarwal, managing partner for People & Purpose, said: “I’m delighted that we have maintained a high position in the Social Mobility Employer Index. At Deloitte we believe a person’s background shouldn’t dictate their future and we have ensured that this is reflected in our approach to recruitment and development.

“Deloitte has taken steps such as contextualisation and academic institution-blind recruitment which are showing results in our student intake. We are also helping to raise aspirations, improve skills and develop leaders through our One Million Futures social impact strategy.”

Employers are assessed on everything from the work they do with young people and their apprenticeships, through to their recruitment and selection processes and how people from lower socio-economic backgrounds progress up the ladder within their organisations.

Deloitte’s success in the Index will be announced today at a launch event at the Francis Crick Institute.

David Johnston OBE, chief executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, said: “We are delighted to see more and more employers every year taking part in our Social Mobility Employer Index. The quality of submissions this year meant we have increased the size of our Top list from 50 to 75 and it shows the very wide range of organisations trying to make progress on social mobility. Whilst no employer would say they have cracked their Your logo social mobility challenge, all of the employers in the Top list – along with those that didn’t quite make it – should be congratulated for the efforts they’re making to ensure their organisation is open to talent from all class backgrounds.”

The Rt Hon Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility Foundation, added: "Social mobility is becoming a cause for more and more of our country's top employers. When politics is weak, society needs to be strong - so it is welcome a growing number of employers are stepping up to the plate. They recognise the need to open their doors to a wider pool of talent both to address growing public concerns about unfairness and to reap the business benefits from having more diverse workforces. The onus is now on all of our country's top employers to do the same."


Notes to editors

Deloitte actions include:

  • Deloitte is a founding partner of the UpReach social mobility charity and act as a mentor to those taking part in the programme, as well as offering employment opportunities to participating students. To date, 55 students have joined Deloitte having taken part in UpReach.
  • Contextualised recruitment: our RARE recruitment tool uses an algorithm to flag candidates from a low socio-economic background who are "outperforming the norm" for their school or college, and adjusts the minimum requirements to enable them to pass through to the next stages of the process. This led to a total of 1,772 interventions, equating to approximately 5% of our applications. We are delighted that this resulted in us hiring 111 students who would not have passed the initial screening had we not implemented this initiative.
  • Deloitte has also introduced school and university-blind recruitment. Interviewers no longer have access to details of an applicant’s school or university until after an offer has been made.
  • Deloitte has also expanded the number of people it recruits through its BrightStart Business Apprenticeship Programme which now offers around 300 places.
  • The Deloitte Aspire experience of work programme welcomed 245 participants to one weeks’ worth of work experience across six office locations: London, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and Reading. All students attending are from state schools with lower socio-economic profiles.
  • Our schools programme is delivered in collaboration with Teach First, and through which we aim to raise aspiration, support achievement and provide opportunities for students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Since its launch in September 2013, One Million Futures Schools has provided support to over 10,000 students in partner schools through mentoring, employability workshops, enterprise challenges and other interventions tailored to the needs of those participating.

The Top 75 Social Mobility Employer Index rankings

1) The Social Mobility Employer Index was developed in consultation with, and following feedback from social mobility experts and major employers. Employers entering the Index do so free of charge and voluntarily. To enter, they had to answer questions about actions they are taking in at least one of the following sections: 

  • working with young people - well-evaluated programmes that reach beyond the doorstep of the office to all of the country’s talent, and which provide routes into the employer/profession for those that have the interest and aptitude
  • routes into work - well-structured non-graduate routes that provide genuine parity of esteem and comparable progression to graduate ones
  • attraction - innovative ways of reaching beyond graduates of the usual five to ten universities many top employers focus their efforts on
  • recruitment and selection - evidence that the employer removes hurdles that will disproportionately affect those from lower socio-economic groups and is moving to a system that judges potential rather than past academic performance or polish
  • data collection - rigorous analysis of the profile of the workforce and of measures taken to improve its diversity
  • progression, culture and experienced hires - effective strategies that help those from lower socio-economic groups get on rather than just get in
  • internal/external advocacy - action to get more of their staff involved in efforts to improve social mobility and to get suppliers/peer firms to also take action

2) Employers are also able to participate in a voluntary employee survey, which included eight questions about the culture of their workplace. 40 employers participated in this and we received over 14,000 responses.

3) The submissions were marked using a strict mark scheme and the list of scores was then benchmarked both within the same sector and across different employment sectors. In targeting sectors that have sometimes been identified as needing to improve their socio-economic diversity, the Index recognises that process often has to be introduced before progress can be made and does not punish employers for starting from a low base, but rather rewards them for taking significant action to improve this. The top 75 are thus those taking the most action on social mobility and not the 75 that are already the most representative of the country at large.  

4) Employers had the option to enter anonymously to receive feedback on their strategies; if they finished in the top 75 they then had the choice of whether to remain anonymous. Two employers did so and this meant those underneath them moved up the published ranking.  

5) Both the development of the Index and the benchmarking is supported by an advisory group whose membership has representatives from the Association of Graduate Recruiters, the Bridge Group, Royal Holloway University, and Stonewall.  

6) For further information about the Index, please visit  

The Social Mobility Foundation  

1) The Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) is a charity which aims to make practical improvement in social mobility for young people from low-income backgrounds.

2) It runs free of charge programmes of mentoring, internships, university application support (including trips to universities and help with personal statements, aptitude tests and interviews) and career and skills workshops to support young people through their sixth-form and university years.

3) Currently taking on a new cohort of over 1700 young people every year, the SMF has offices in Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Newcastle and runs residential programmes for young people from the Isle of Wight to the Western Isles of Scotland across 11 career sectors (Accountancy, Architecture, Banking & Finance, Biology & Chemistry, Business, Engineering & Physics, Law, Media & Communications, Medicine, Politics, and Technology).

About Deloitte

In this press release references to “Deloitte” are references to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”) a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity.

Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte LLP is a subsidiary of Deloitte NSE LLP, which is a member firm of DTTL, and is among the UK's leading professional services firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

For more information, please visit

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