KPMG publishes firmwide socio-economic background pay gaps

KPMG publishes firmwide socio-economic background pay gaps and aims for 29% working-class representation by 2030

KPMG publishes firmwide socio-economic background pay gaps and aims for 29%.

  • KPMG in the UK publishes its socio-economic background pay gaps for the first time as part of the firm’s Environmental, Social and Governance plan: Our Impact.
  • Firm aims to see 29 percent of UK partners and directors come from a working-class background by 2030.

KPMG in the UK has become one of the first organisations to publish its socio-economic background pay gaps and set out ambitious targets to increase the number of senior employees from working-class backgrounds.

The new data, published today, measures pay gaps between colleagues from different socio-economic backgrounds by looking at their parental occupation. This method of measurement is recommended by social mobility experts, such as the Bridge Group, as the most robust and reliable indicator of socio-economic background.

Publication of this new data builds on the firm’s work to improve transparency around pay gap reporting, which it has published voluntarily for a number of years – earlier this year revealing Black heritage, sexual orientation, and disability pay gaps for the first time.

When analysing the data of colleagues from different socio-economic backgrounds (including partners) the firm recorded overall pay gaps of:

  • Professional versus working class background: median 8.6 percent; mean -1.1 percent
  • Professional versus intermediate background: median 2.2 percent; mean 3.2 percent
  • Intermediate versus working class background: median 6.6 percent; mean -4.5 percent*

Detailed analysis of the data reveals that while KPMG’s senior and junior colleagues are its most socio-economically diverse cohorts, working-class representation in middle management grades is comparatively lower and this is contributing to the pay gaps.

To address this, KPMG will focus on colleagues’ pathway into and through the organisation, from recruitment to progression - removing any potential barriers facing those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. This work will include:

  • new recruitment programmes dedicated to bringing in talent from lower socio-economic backgrounds at middle management and senior levels;
  • the introduction of mandatory training to all colleagues on socio-economic background;
  • a talent development programme aimed at colleagues from lower socio-economic backgrounds; and
  • using parental occupation as a key measure within HR processes.

To drive even greater progress, KPMG has introduced the firm’s first ever socio-economic background representation target, which will aim to see 29 percent of its partners and directors come from a working class background by 2030. Currently 23 percent of the firm’s partners and 20 percent of its directors are from a working class background and working class representation across KPMG’s Board is 22 percent and 14 percent in its Executive Committee.

Bina Mehta, Chair of KPMG in the UK, said: “The publication of this data builds on our concerted efforts over a number of years to track and measure the socio-economic make-up of our workforce.

“It’s only through this focus and level of transparency that we’re able to hold ourselves to account to take targeted action that will help create a fairer and more equitable society.

“I’m a passionate believer that greater diversity in all its aspects improves business performance. Diversity brings fresh thinking and different perspectives to decision making, which in turn delivers better outcomes for our clients.”

Jon Holt, Chief Executive of KPMG in the UK, said: “We know that investors, clients, employees and communities want greater transparency from business, and our Impact Plan is just the start. But by taking this important step in reporting and giving more details about the way we run our business, we’re measuring our progress and holding ourselves to account to ensure that opportunities are open to all.”

Nik Miller, Chief Executive, the Bridge Group said: “Progress in diversity and inclusion requires robust evidence and practical action. In publishing pay gaps by socio-economic background for the first time, and using this to inform a strategy for change, KPMG is leading the way.

“We hope that this will inspire others to follow suit and will strengthen our wider understanding about how background impacts on opportunity, and the ways in which society and business can benefit from greater equality.”

KPMG launches new Environmental, Social and Governance commitments: Our Impact

The publication of the new socio-economic background data forms part of wider disclosures made by KPMG today, as part of its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) plan: Our Impact.

Our Impact brings KPMG in the UK’s ESG commitments together for the first time and measures the firm’s impact on the environment, how it drives prosperity for its people, communities and clients, and its focus on setting best-practice governance.

Within the plan, KPMG in the UK has committed to voluntarily report against the World Economic Forum International Business Council Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics to give stakeholders a common way of measuring and understanding the ESG impact and progress the firm is making. By using the common metrics, the firm can also be benchmarked against its peers, who are expected to follow suit.

Bina Mehta added: “Reporting against a common ESG framework drives greater transparency and accountability.

“Most importantly, businesses can demonstrate their broader impact and crucial role in driving change on some of society’s most important issues.”

KPMG’s Our Impact report can be accessed here.


Notes to Editors:

A  total of 70 percent of KPMG’s UK partners and employees completed the survey.

*For the purposes of calculating the pay gaps, ‘professional’ is a ‘higher managerial, administrative and professional’ parental occupation, ‘intermediate’ is ‘intermediate’ parental occupation and ‘working class’ is ‘routine and manual’ parental occupation.

For more information contact:

KPMG UK Media Relations Team: 0207 694 8773

Zoe Sheppard, Head of Media Relations, KPMG UK

Mobile:     +44 (0)7770 737 994


About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 21 offices across the UK with approximately 16,000 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a revenue of £2.3 billion in the year ended 30 September 2020.

KPMG is a global organization of independent professional services firms providing Audit, Legal, Tax and Advisory services. It operates in 147 countries and territories and has more than 219,000 people working in member firms around the world. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. KPMG International Limited is a private English company limited by guarantee. KPMG International Limited and its related entities do not provide services to clients.

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