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Social mobility masterclass for employers #5: Progression

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November 26, 2020 | Alexandra Sufit


Progression – opportunities to advance, with the Ministry of Justice

The fifth session in our employers’ masterclass series, Progression, took place on 19 November. Our previous sessions covered outreach, hiring, culture & leadership and advocacy. Progression with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is all about how you can support employees throughout their careers, by offering equal access to opportunities.

Social mobility isn’t just about who gets in, it’s also about who gets on. So it’s important for employers to have a defined list of skills required for each promotion – and build flexibility into job specifications. This helps ensure that the very best person is able to step up and no one is accidentally overlooked.

There could be a range of barriers for those who want to progress up the ranks of your organisation. People from lower socio-economic backgrounds typically find it harder to access training.

You could level the playing field, by ensuring training opportunities are evenly accessed by those from diverse backgrounds. Or you could offer comparable opportunities for progression and reward those taking non-graduate routes, who may not have traditional academic qualifications but a whole range of skills that could benefit your business.

Flexibility ensures that people juggling care responsibilities are not forced to choose between those and their careers, or that talented individuals in social mobility ‘cold spots’ across the country have the possibility of contributing to your organisation by working from home. And, of course, that their contribution is fairly rewarded through promotion.

In the Financial and Professional Services sector, for instance –  nearly nine in 10 senior roles are held by people from privileged families – according to new research from the Bridge Group. A new taskforce aims to improve social mobility and redress the balance.

To boost opportunities and level the playing field, HM Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have commissioned the City of London Corporation (CoLC) to lead an independent taskforce to boost socio-economic diversity in the sector. This will be led by Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair, CoLC, and three Co-Chairs: Vincent Keaveny, Senior Alderman, CoLCAndy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England, and Sandra M Wallace, Joint-Chair of the Social Mobility Commission.

But there is a lot that individuals employers can do – and they have a key part to play in opening up opportunities and levelling the playing field. This masterclass aims to provide you with a good starting point.

Our session on progression took the form of:

• A short presentation by the Social Mobility Commission – we are leading advocates for social mobility in England, who produce a host of research and guidance for employers

• An in-depth case-study from Ministry of Justice (MoJ) who describe what they do to provide fair opportunities for progression across their organisation

• An interactive workshop for employers in which to explore ideas, share insights and tackle some of the road blocks

Using the insights from that workshop we are now sharing a checklist Progression Masterclass After-pack 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 and culture & leadership – enabling you to become a real change-maker in this space. You can watch the progression video below.

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

In the last of our masterclass series, we will be exploring Data with the Bridge Group. This session follows the launch of our new guidance, which makes measuring socio-economic diversity in the workplace easier than ever – and we will also be providing you with insights from that work. We’ve consulted with a host of leading academics, think tanks, charities and employers to produce a simple guide on the most important information you need to collect, and how best to use it to develop an informed strategy. 

The Data masterclass takes place on Thursday 3 December at 2pm; you can register your place here.

Thank you for being committed to driving real change in the social mobility space. Let’s work together, so that everyone has a chance of a better future.

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