Social Mobility at Grant Thornton
Social mobility has been a hot topic here at Grant Thornton, we have been having conversations which others may find difficult having. Key questions we are trying to answer are; “what are some of the barriers we are facing around social mobility?” and “how can we create more of a diverse workforce which accurately reflects the communities in which we operate?” These are important questions to shaping a vibrant economy in the UK.
The first step is to recognise where improvement is required. We all exhibit what is known as unconscious bias in our daily interactions. Judging others by the way they look, their background, what they say and do. It’s not intentional and we all have it. It’s a result of our backgrounds and the environment we grow up in.
In the workplace, this can lead to some very dangerous results whereby talented individuals are not given the opportunities they deserve simply because of their background.
During inclusion week, we held discussions around the firm to get our people thinking and discussing ways Grant Thornton can continue to foster an environment of inclusion and promote social mobility.
We held discussions in our London office where business leaders from a network of firms around London came together. Our aim was to be a force for change in the traditional elitist-culture that has ruled the corporate world for generations.
The discussions were focused on three key topics:
Community activities and school outreach
Although we already has an award winging & diverse presence within schools and universities, we recognise that we need to take a more holistic approach. Educating not only the students of the opportunities within the firm, but also parents and teachers.
This is important especially within more regional areas where there are less work experience opportunities available.
Hiring (school leaver, graduate and lateral)
At Grant Thornton, we have designed our hiring process to focus on strengths of candidates, not just grades and “university status”. We have dropped our academic entry requirements at graduate and school leaver levels, removed any weighing around extra-curricular activities and work experience, and redefined our approach towards our list of target schools and universities. You can read more about how we are advancing social mobility here: https://www.grantthornton.co.uk/en/about-us/corporate-responsibility/advancing-social-mobility-for-a-vibrant-economy/
Whist we recognise that hard work can result in top grades, the vast majority of society may find themselves at a disadvantage if they have not grown up in an environment where they are challenged to do so by their parents or could not afford a tutor, private schooling or a family friend to offer them work experience.
Progression and inclusion
It is evident that despite being offered a job, people may still face challenges when it comes to feeling included. An example which was discussed from another firm was regarding a colleague who was mocked for not knowing what Salopettes were.
By hiring people from various background, we can overcome these biases by introducing new ways of thinking and viewing the world.
To ensure all of our people are given equal opportunity, we encourage a feedback and goal setting culture to inspire growth in all of our employees.
We have been ranked second in the Social Mobility Employer Index 2018 and awarded the Queen’s award for social mobility.
Here at Grant Thornton, social mobility and inclusion are one of our top priorities.