Businesses Need to Change Practices to Encourage Social Mobility

Engagement with schools, paid internships and non-graduate routes. These are just some of the ways that businesses should be contributing to social mobility, according to a Government report.

As part of the recent report by the Government’s Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, a sub-document called The Business and Social Mobility: a Manifesto for Change was produced, with clear recommendations for how businesses should change their recruitment policies and practices not only to encourage social mobility, but to ensure they are employing the best people for the job.

“Organisations are only as good as their people.” And the fact is that current policies and procedures are providing serious barriers to businesses actually recruiting the most talented people. This report identifies some steps organisations could take to remove the divide in access between poor and affluent applicants:

1. Engage strategically with young people and skills – businesses should get involved with young people at a much earlier point in their lives than graduation. This can be achieved through linking with schools to provide mentoring and work experience to identify and inspire young people who may otherwise not be on track for higher education.

2. Adhere to best practice on internships by openly advertising them and offering paid internships – half of work experience and internships are circulated by word of mouth – meaning those from poorer backgrounds with insufficient contacts miss out. And a huge 39% of young people offered unpaid internships had to turn them down because they couldn’t afford to work for nothing.

3. Reform selection processes –  these processes shouldn’t rely on measures such as UCAS points or whether someone went to a Russell Group University. Businesses need to take broader account of everything a candidate has done, as well as the context in which they were done.

4. Open up non-graduate routes.

5. Monitor and evaluate their processes to ensure they are reaching out to people from all backgrounds, for example by using measures that reflect the socio-economic make up of their workforce.

These recommendations would open up opportunities for talented young people who have previously been held back by their poorer background, lack of “good contacts” and current circumstances. The Bridge Builders Mentoring Scheme is one way businesses can connect with schools and young men to provide mentoring and work experience opportunities that these young people would not otherwise have access to.

If you think your organisation would like to get involved with the Bridge Builders Mentoring Scheme click here.

If your school or youth organisation is interested in working with Bridge Builders Mentoring to provide a comprehensive range of opportunities to disadvantaged boys, then please call us today on 0333 200 4703

Helen Robinson