Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Improving Social Mobility in the Workplace

Paul Brown
21.02.2019 Published: 21.02.19, Modified: 21.02.2019 11:02:59

Despite the snowy conditions hitting the FDM London Centre earlier this month, our Social Mobility Hackathon attracted 40 attendees including clients and like-minded individuals, who worked together in teams to identify the barriers to social mobility and how businesses can combat these. This event is the latest in its series of our Diversity and Inclusion events.

Social mobility brain storming whiteboard

Emily Hodgson, Employer Relations Manager from the Social Mobility Foundation, outlined the scale of the situation in the UK, highlighting the fact that a child from a wealthy background is 35% more likely to be a high earner in comparison to a high ability child from a low income background. In addition to this, state school students tend to do better in their degree studies than students from private schools with the same prior educational attainment. At FDM we help graduates launch their professional careers in technology and business. It is important to us that we identify individuals who have the talent to succeed from all backgrounds, regardless of characteristics such as ethnicity, gender, disability status or socioeconomic status.

The hackathon was structured around four sprints that aimed to get our seven groups to produce solutions to implement in their workplace. The sprints proceeded in this order; to imagine the ideal scenario, outline the barriers preventing the ideal, discuss how to combat these barriers and provide a feasible solution (their chosen hack). Our wonderful and energetic moderator, Perry Timms, ensured that the groups had enough time to explore each sprint and pitch their chosen hack at the end of the session.

The outputs of the groups chosen hacks were varied and interesting. The chosen hacks ranged from reverse mentoring to exchange social capital, the implementation of a skills matrix, offering work experience to those who would otherwise not have access and revamping hiring practices so that all employees can reach their Nirvana state. A reoccurring trend was that the current hiring processes deployed by some businesses are outdated and potentially biased towards the more privileged candidate. The resounding takeaway from the hackathon is that more needs to be done to identify talent from the most diverse backgrounds, and there was real enthusiasm to ensure there is equal opportunity for all.

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