KPMG second in new list of Top 50 employers for social mobility

KPMG second in Top 50 Employers for Social Mobility

Following KPMG’s strong performance in the inaugural ranking of UK’s top-performing businesses for social mobility, Melanie Richards, Vice Chair of KPMG in the UK, calls social mobility the critical social issue of our time.

  • KPMG second in the UK’s first-ever Social Mobility Employer Index.
  • The Index is a joint initiative between the Social Mobility Foundation and Social Mobility Commission, in partnership with the City of London Corporation.
  • KPMG issues its top five ‘social mobility tips’ for businesses as it ranks highest of Big Four professional services firm.


Following KPMG’s strong performance in the inaugural ranking of UK’s top-performing businesses for social mobility, Melanie Richards, Vice Chair of KPMG in the UK, calls social mobility the critical social issue of our time.

“Social mobility is no longer just a matter of fairness but an economic necessity. The publication of this new ranking couldn’t be timelier. We know that the UK is one of the least socially mobile countries in the OECD. And the Brexit vote, followed by the outcome of the general election earlier this month, have shone a light on some of the social divisions that we as a country face. So social mobility and the geography of disadvantage will rise up the political agenda.

“Simply put, we are failing to make the most of our people – and for Britain to compete on a global stage, particularly once it leaves the EU, we need the talent in every part of our society to shine.”

KPMG has taken a leading role on social mobility for some time – walking the walk not just talking the talk. At the end of last year, the firm became the first UK business to publish comprehensive data on the socio-economic makeup of its workforce. The move was a key component in KPMG’s strong showing in today’s Index, says Melanie Richards.

“What gets measured, gets managed. By tracking and publishing this data, KPMG’s aim is to ensure the firm is held to account and that the leadership takes positive and decisive action on these issues rather than simply paying them lip service.”

For KPMG, this is another key milestone after the firm won a Queen’s Award earlier this year for its work on promoting opportunity through social mobility.


Melanie Richards said:

“We are all delighted to see KPMG achieve second place in the Index today. It is recognition of the work our people do across the UK, often quietly and behind the scenes, to ensure our profession is more open and accessible to everyone.

“However it is far from a case of ‘job done’. We will redouble our efforts so more people from diverse backgrounds feel our firm and businesses like ours are places they can reach their full potential, no matter where they started out.”


David Johnston, chief executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, said:

“All the Top 50 firms in the Social Mobility Employer Index should be applauded for the progress they are making towards ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to get in and get on – regardless of their background. They should be congratulated both for having prioritised social mobility and for being prepared to have their processes and practices independently scrutinised.”


KPMG’s top five tips for businesses looking to improve the socio-economic makeup of their workforce are:

  1. Making the business case
    At KPMG social mobility isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ – it’s an integral part of our talent strategy. By widening access to the profession, we know we can attract and recruit the best talent from a diverse range of backgrounds, helping us solve our clients’ complex challenges.

  2. Educating staff about what social mobility is, why it matters and how they can contribute
    You need a swell of support from all levels of the business to create change, all the way from your leadership through to new starters. Only by clearly outlining the case for social mobility from the outset will you be able to take them on this exciting journey with you. 

  3. Learning from the experts
    At KPMG we’ve sought out external experts to inform our social mobility strategy – for example, we consulted with experts at the Bridge Group and the Institute of Education on the right mix of socio-economic background questions for our new applicants and workforce.

  4. Developing data driven strategies 
    At the end of 2016 we became the first UK business to publish comprehensive data on the socio-economic background of our workforce. This data provides an evidence base for change and we can use it as a baseline to measure our future progress. Going public with this data will also ensure the firm is held to account on its social mobility work.

  5. Collaboration is key
    Tackling social mobility isn’t something government or any one business can achieve on its own. That’s why KPMG has worked hard to drive collaboration and cross sector learning from our advocacy of the Living Wage to being a driving force behind the development of Access Accountancy.


- ENDS -


Notes to editor:

For further information please contact:

Louis Clark, KPMG Senior PR Manager
T: +44 (0) 207 694 8957 
M: +44 (0) 7770 644 382

KPMG Press Office
T: +44 (0) 207 694 8773


About KPMG 

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 13,500 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a revenue of £2.07 billion in the year ended 30 September 2016. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 189,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.  Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.


The Social Mobility Employer Index

The Index questionnaire has been developed in consultation with, and following feedback from social mobility experts and major employers. Categories include:

  • working with young people - well-evaluated programmes that reach beyond the doorstep of the office to all of the country’s talent, and which provide routes into the employer/profession for those that have the interest and aptitude
  • routes into work - well-structured non-graduate routes that provide genuine parity of esteem and comparable progression to graduate ones
  • attraction - innovative ways of reaching beyond graduates of the usual five to ten universities many top employers focus their efforts on
  • recruitment and selection - evidence that the employer removes hurdles that will disproportionately affect those from lower socio-economic groups and is moving to a system that judges potential rather than past academic performance or polish
  • data collection - rigorous analysis of the profile of the workforce and of measures taken to improve its diversity
  • progression - effective strategies that help those from lower socio-economic groups get on rather than just get in
  • internal/external advocacy - action to get more of their staff involved in efforts to improve social mobility and to get suppliers/peer firms to also take action

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