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Social mobility masterclass for employers #6: Data

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December 15, 2020 | Alexandra Sufit


Data – the foundation of any diversity & inclusion strategy, with the Bridge Group

In the last of our masterclass series on 3 December, we explored Data with the Bridge Group. This session followed the launch of our new guidance, which makes measuring socio-economic diversity in the workplace easier than ever – and we also took the opportunity to share insights from that work. You can read our blog delving into the Data Kit launch here and below is a video recording of the session.

Data is at the heart of every forward-thinking diversity & inclusion (D&I) strategy. In order to take the right action at the right time, you first have to understand where you are at, as a business.

It will help shape your plans at every step: not only does data guide the hiring process, it enables employers to monitor access to opportunities as people progress through the ranks. And this is smart business. Companies with the most diverse boards worldwide are 43% more likely to have higher profits, and an ‘innovation mindset’ is six times higher in the most-equal cultures.

“Employers need to ensure they are attracting top talent irrespective of background and tackling the barriers that prevent people from less privileged backgrounds from progressing – this is the right thing to do and makes business sense.”

Sarah Atkinson, Chief Executive, Social Mobility Foundation (SMF)

Accurately measuring socio-economic diversity is often the biggest barrier that employers face. It doesn’t matter where you are on your journey – data is key to establishing what changes you may need to make to drive change. It also serves as a benchmark for measuring progress, and to celebrate any successes along the way.

Channel 4 is a good example of an organisation that has created meaningful, and measurable, change. Once dubbed ‘Britain’s poshest broadcaster’, it had one of the lowest proportions of staff from working-class backgrounds in the creative sector. In 2016, Channel 4 brought in an independent researcher to work with staff at all levels to understand the barriers faced by those from a lower socio-economic background. The resulting strategy highlighted actions to broaden opportunities throughout the hiring process, from supporting young people to take up work experience, to helping independent production companies offer more apprenticeship places. As a result, the proportion of staff not from professional or managerial backgrounds grew by almost 20% between 2016 and 2019.

Our data toolkit is filled with similar stories, to inspire you on this journey.

The session on 3 December took the form of:

  • A presentation from the Social Mobility Commission, we are leading advocates for social mobility in England, on our newly released guidance.
  • A presentation by the Bridge Group, a non-profit consultancy that uses research to promote social equality. They ran through how best to use the data you collect.
  • An interactive workshop for employers in which to explore ideas, share insights and tackle some of the challenges.

Using the insights from that workshop we are now sharing a checklist Data Masterclass Afterpack to help you refine your ideas. And you can find a video of the presentation and case-study above, if you’ve haven’t already watched it.

Our employers’ toolkit is also packed with ideas on the data you can use to measure progress, build a strong outreach programme or create a more inclusive culture. Each individual section includes tailored guidance, as well as videos that will give you our top tips on the key themes of data, outreach, hiring, progression, culture & leadership and advocacy – enabling you to become a real change-maker in this space. You can watch the data video below.

We hope that you find these tools and videos both insightful and inspiring.

This was the sixth and last masterclass in this series. Our previous sessions covered outreach, hiring, culture & leadership, advocacy and progression. All of these sessions were sold-out events. This clearly signals how committed organisations are to improving socio-economic diversity and driving positive change, even in these uncertain times. Thank you to all the participants and attendees.

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