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Social Mobility

It’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re going

In a world of increasing inequality, helping to improve social mobility is hugely important. We believe that everyone, irrespective of their background, should be able to achieve their full potential. Supporting social mobility is one of our firm’s inclusion priorities and we've been working hard to help those both inside and outside the firm.

In the UK today, the data tells us a that your social background still impacts your opportunities in life:

  • 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.
  • Just 7% of children in the UK attend independent schools, but 30 per cent of all A* grades at A level are achieved by these children.
  • 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. This 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.

What we are doing to address the challenge

Social mobility is a complex issue and requires a coordinated approach

Here are some of the things we are doing, and have done to try and address one of the UK’s toughest challenges.

Last year, more than 120 people from low socio-economic backgrounds joined our early careers programme as a direct result of a contextual recruitment system (academic contextualisation). This gives our recruiters a range of standardised data on candidates' economic background and personal circumstances, allowing them to make more informed choices about candidates by considering the context in which their academic achievements have been gained.

Over the last year, more than 250 A-level students from low socio-economic backgrounds participated in our ASPIRE work experience programme, and we have supported over 1,000 individuals through this programme since its inception. We replaced ad-hoc work experience, with two new work experience programmes, Employability Workshops and Career Shapers, which are open to anyone.

We are running a business internship programme for students at Hazelwood Integrated College in Belfast – a six-month placement with leading local businesses in finance, construction, hospitality, professional services and social enterprise. And we have a fantastic partnership with Cardiff and Vale College for our New Beginnings programme – a unique and fully funded opportunity to boost the career prospects of people in the Cardiff and Vale region.

In addition, we support a range of charities and social enterprises working with children and young people such as The Prince's Trust, IntoUniversity and Depaul. We also continue to be a leading signatory to Access Accountancy and the Social Mobility Pledge, and our partnership with Teach First is growing.

We have also made specific strides with our recruitment and selection practices, including;

  • Being the leading firm to introduce school and university-blind recruitment
  • Aligning our attraction and outreach activities to engage with a broader range of schools and universities
  • Academic requirements and selection process have become truly inclusive and accessible to all, with the focus of assessments being more about candidate ambition and potential
  • Providing coaching and pastoral care via mentorship and buddies throughout the recruitment process and when candidates join the firm

We are proud of the work we are doing to support social mobility, and this has been recognised by our ranking in the Social Mobility Employer Index. But we know there is still more to do. That is why we are continuing our commitment to develop our recruitment and outreach activities, whilst also focusing on supporting our employees within the firm to thrive, no matter what their background.

Social mobility and our people

'Fostering inclusion' and 'Taking care of each other' are two of our global shared values and at the heart of everything we do at Deloitte. We know that having a diverse workforce improves employee experience, brings better results for our clients, and makes a more meaningful impact on society. But to help measure our impact, and ensure we are truly reflective of society, we need to have good data.

That is why we are working hard with our people and updating our systems to ensure that we are able to capture and understand our workforce demographics. And as of 2023, more than 73% of our people had disclosed information about their social and educational background.


Our approach to social mobility in society

One Million Futures Schools
Our partnership with Teach First unites us in an aim to build a fair education for all. We want to unlock potential in all children, not just some, and we know that behind every pupil there is a school willing them to succeed. That’s why we’re working together to provide invaluable support to pupils through our schools programme, which sees Deloitte volunteers mentoring and leading employability activities, and to strengthen school leadership teams through Teach First’s accredited School Leaders programme.

Through our partnership, we aim to develop more great teachers and broaden pupils’ perspectives on the career opportunities available to them.

We are a founding partner of the UpReach social mobility charity, who run a programme of support for students from less-advantaged backgrounds. We have partnered with UpReach for 10 years to offer their associates: 1-2-1 support, On campus workshops, Professional mentors, Onsite Insight days, Work experience week.


Case studies

We spoke 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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