How much do you talk about social mobility in your business? The problem is, social mobility is still a taboo subject. Because to address it, we have to acknowledge that class still matters – in fact, it can define your future success.
The challenge with class is that – unlike protected characteristics such as race, gender, sexuality, and religion – it’s not easy to define or measure. The very idea of class can be divisive, partly because it means something different to everyone. This ambiguity means conversations about social mobility can be tricky, which makes tackling the issue even harder.
So, what can we do to make a difference? Well, since early careers are a gateway to the world of work – and a successful future – for school-leavers from disadvantaged backgrounds, embedding social mobility in your early careers strategy is a great place to start. Here’s how:
1. Be strategic about where and how you deliver outreach
If you’re delivering early careers outreach in local schools, look for those with higher levels of disadvantage. If your outreach takes place on-site, think about proximity: can a young person reach your workplace if they don’t have a car? Make sure you weave real-world insights into your sessions to help build knowledge and understanding for young people who don’t have professional mentors or family members to learn from – check out 6 ways to get results from your in-person school outreach for in-depth tips.
2. Build self-development into your hiring process
Think of your hiring process as a professional development exercise, even for those candidates who don’t make the cut. That could mean giving thorough feedback (including for unsuccessful applicants), offering learning workshops or mentoring prior to hire, or embedding personal development into new hires’ first six months in your business. Not only will you boost your employer brand, offering socially diverse young people opportunities for professional insight, education and experience they might not otherwise have could contribute to a step-change in social mobility.
3. Advertise salaries on early careers positions
We’ve written about why advertising a "competitive salary" is damaging for diversity. If a socially diverse young person doesn’t have access to workplace insight and labour market information via family and friends, how can they be expected to know what “competitive salary” means? When hiring early years talent, be upfront about pay: it’s a small change that could make a big difference.
Thinking of hiring socially diverse apprentices? Here’s what to do – and the order to do it in.
For support at any stage of the hiring cycle – from outlining roles and salaries, to building your pipeline, to hiring and onboarding – or for end-to-end management of your whole process, just get in touch.