Burges Salmon is a top 20 employer for social mobility

Burges Salmon has today been ranked as one of the Top 20 employers 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.

It ranks Britain’s employers for the first time on the actions they are taking to ensure they are open to accessing and progressing talent from all backgrounds and showcases progress towards improving social mobility in the workplace.

The aim of the Index is to encourage firms to share their initiatives and progress in becoming more inclusive employers and to reveal which sectors and companies are taking the issue of social mobility most seriously.

Research has consistently shown that people from more affluent backgrounds take a disproportionate number of the best jobs and that employers tend to disproportionately employ graduates who went to private schools and elite universities.

Burges Salmon has been ranked 17 in the Index for the commendable work it has taken to tackle this and enable those from lower socio-economic backgrounds to succeed. Measures taken by the company to improve social mobility include its annual Bright Sparks work experience programme, now in its fifth year, and partnering with Bristol schools. Burges Salmon also hired five legal apprentices in 2016, making it one of the first law firms in the UK to do so under the new Trailblazer standards.

Firms from 17 sectors, who collectively employ just under one million people, submitted entries about their practices and procedures in areas such as work with young people, recruitment, selection and progression. The final rankings were decided by a respected panel of experts and all firms will receive a report with recommendations for areas for improvement.

Burges Salmon’s success in the Index will be announced today at a launch event at the City of London and in a supplement in The Times newspaper.

Robert Halton, Chief People Officer at Burges Salmon, said: “We are really pleased to have been both named and ranked so highly in the world’s first-ever Social Mobility Employer Index.  Access to the profession is at the heart of all the work we do with schools and as part of our PRIME commitment to ensuring fair access to the legal profession, we continue to invest heavily in this area.”

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.”

The Rt Hon Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility Commission, added: “Social mobility is hugely important if the UK is to become more productive and make the most of its talent. But research has shown that people from working class backgrounds – even if they are high educational attainers – are less likely to secure professional jobs because they have less access to the networks and knowledge to navigate the system.

“The Top 50 firms are paving the way by changing their workforce strategies to ensure they get don’t lose out on talented people from less privileged backgrounds. We want the index to herald a step change towards improving social mobility by encouraging many more employers to compete to recruit, and keep, the best and brightest candidates – regardless of background.”

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chairman for the City of London Corporation, said: “These firms have shown real ambition in their approach to tackling social mobility. They are leading the way in removing the barriers which are holding back the best and brightest candidates in our society. Statistics show that people from more prosperous backgrounds, who attend private schools and elite universities, often take a disproportionate number of the best jobs.

“But more companies are making progress on social mobility, casting the net wider in the search for talent and recognising that a level playing field is in the best interests for all businesses. The Index is an effective incentive to UK businesses to demonstrate the progress they are making in this vital area.”

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