Why focus on socio-economic background?
Raise your game. Employees from lower socio-economic backgrounds perform at least as well as their more advantaged colleagues, and often outperform them. In professional service firms, for example, trainees from lower socio-economic backgrounds are more likely to achieve the highest performance.
Why restrict your talent pool? Diverse workforces give you access to a wider recruitment pool. You may also benefit from higher employee engagement and lower turnover. Greater diversity could make you a destination employer for the high-performing individuals that will drive your success in the future.
Work on your image. People want to see people who look like them, and they want to work for a business with a purpose. Building a visibly diverse workforce signals a commitment to inclusion and improving society. Companies interested in the long term recognise the benefits of this for their reputation and image.
The next frontier
Recent years have seen a drive to increase diversity in businesses. So far, these efforts have focused primarily on gender and ethnicity. However, forward-looking companies across industries are now looking at how to increase socio-economic diversity as part of this thriving agenda.
An untapped opportunity
Individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds are a positive asset to businesses, but they are under-represented in professional occupations. People whose parents held professional jobs are more likely to be in a professional job themselves. Likewise, people from professional backgrounds are three times more likely to move
to London where the greatest concentration of professional jobs exists. However, larger employers are increasingly recognising the benefits of shifting this pattern, and are targeting the UK’s social mobility ‘coldspots’ to benefit from talent that exists there.
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