The Social Mobility Employer Index 2018 was announced this week, revealing the top 50 UK employers who have taken the most action on social mobility in the workplace.

NCUB member KPMG took the top spot, with fellow members Deloitte, PwC, Linklaters, Severn Trent, Capgemini and BBC all featuring on this year’s list.

The Index is a voluntary survey by the Social Mobility Foundation which assesses employers across seven areas, including the work they do with young people, their recruitment and selection processes and how people from lower income backgrounds progress within their organisations.

Among the success stories from this year’s survey was the finding that employers are making significant changes to their recruitment processes, with 1 in 4 now removing candidates’ names from the screening process, and 27% contextualising candidates’ grades based on the academic performance of their school or college. 44% are now encouraging the businesses in their supply chains to take action on social mobility too.

Not everything is rosy however and, despite the percentage of visits to Russell Group universities falling from 70% last year to 56% this year, Russell Group graduates still account for 6 in 10 hires in professional service firms and more than 8 in 10 hires at law firms. And for employees, 16% of respondents identifying as working class say they feel the need to hide their class background in the workplace.

We should be encouraged that employers are taking much needed action while recognising there is still more to do.

Addressing deep-seated issues around social mobility will require coordinated action across a range of stakeholders. For a number of NCUB members this is an area already being addressed but these activities are often happening in isolation of each other and certainly not joined up. In particular it will be important to develop mechanisms and a forum for universities and employers to learn from each other.

To facilitate this, NCUB is planning a series of business/university insight and engagement events across the autumn, dedicated to social mobility.

Dates and invitations to members will be circulated next week, along with a full schedule of events and ways to get involved between now and the end of 2018, but to register your interest now, please email


By Ali Orr, NCUB Talent and Employability Consultant.


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Collective action to break the deadlock on diversity and social mobility

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