Social Mobility Events

Masterclass | Online

6 July 2023

Employers’ Masterclass: Let’s talk about Class

Following on from our recent masterclasses that discussed ‘Accents in the Workplace’ and ‘The art of using storytelling to building inclusion’, it is clear that it is important to address the conversation about class in the workplace.  

In organisations across the UK, there are conversations about the importance of diversity and inclusion going on at every level in your workforce – but whilst this may address the experiences of different groups in the modern workforce, there’s a strong chance that class and socio-economic background (SEB) isn’t yet being discussed.  

However, we know it should be.  Following our employer consultation last year, it is apparent that for organisations to build a culture of inclusion, they have to position ‘social mobility as a key priority.’  To do so, they need to talk about class in the workplace.  

Research has shown that whether they’re looking to get hired, network or secure a promotion, employees from a low socio-economic background can experience barriers that hinder their progression.  As a result, many find themselves struggling to match the progress of their higher SEB colleagues or hiding their background in order to do so.

An inclusive environment where employees can talk openly about class and SEB is a more inclusive workplace – one where low SEB colleagues feel able to bring their whole selves to work, where high SEB colleagues can better understand what it means to be an ally, and where myths and stereotypes can be challenged openly. Done right, it should help to debias your processes and improve employee retention. 

Our next employer masterclass will explore what a healthy, inclusive conversation about class and socio-economic background looks like, and how you can help everyone in your workplace to get involved. 

We will cover:

  • How do you talk openly about class in the workplace?
  • How can people start the conversation?
  • How can employers build the narrative?
  • How do they make it a safe space to do so?
  • How do you ensure that it is talked about from top to bottom (and the other way)?
  • What role do allies play?

We’ll be joined by Sophie Hulm, CEO of Progress Together and Mark Cheeseman OBE, Interim Chief Executive of the Public Sector Fraud Authority and Chair of the Cabinet Office Social Mobility Board.

About the speakers

Sophie Hulm, CEO, Progress Together.  

As Head of Skills Policy at the City of London, Sophie was the founder and architect of a Government commissioned Socio-Economic Diversity Taskforce. Sophie sees a clear link between the skills and labour challenges which exist in UK financial services and the need for greater socio-economic diversity at senior levels. Sophie joined Progress Together as Chief Executive in September 2022.

Sophie currently sits on the SteerCo for the 30% Club and has led a number of high-profile initiatives including the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards. Throughout her working life Sophie has focused on the power of business to bring about change, including working for a welfare-to-work organisation, a Corporate Responsibility membership body, and as a trustee for Governors for Schools.

Her dad is a working-class East Londoner and her mum a retired academic with immigrant parents. She lives with her partner and two mixed-race children who are big fans of Pokemon and Octonauts.

Progress Together is a not-for-profit membership body that launched in May 2022 to create equity of progression for individuals in the financial services sector.

Mark Cheeseman OBE, Interim Chief Executive, Public Sector Fraud Authority and Chair of the Cabinet Office Social Mobility Board.

Mark heads up the Public Sector Fraud Authority, which works with UK government departments and public bodies to better understand and reduce the impact of fraud. He led the development of the Government’s Counter Fraud Function and the Government Counter Fraud Profession as well as the creation of organisational standards and the use of data sharing and analytics, transforming the way that central government deals with fraud – leading to an increase of detected and prevented fraud of over 250% and £100ms in audited benefits from counter fraud activity. 

Mark chairs and sits on a number of cross government boards and has led several reviews into fraud management. Prior to joining the Cabinet Office, Mark was Head of Counter Fraud and Investigations at the Legal Aid Agency, where he reformed the agency’s approach to countering fraud.  

Mark chairs the Cabinet Office Social Mobility Board, whose mission is to set the standard for Social Mobility by supporting everyone in the Cabinet Office to achieve their potential, whatever their background.  The Social Mobility Board is committed alongside the Cabinet Office Social Mobility Network and the Diversity and Inclusion team to take action on social mobility related issues. The strategy is themed around four areas:  Data; Attraction and Outreach; Talent and Progression: and Awareness.

Event details

Event date: 6 July 2023
12.30 - 13.30

Register here

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Employers play a key role in #socialmobility outcomes for many.

They determine where they set up their business, the types of job roles they create, and how and who they recruit; the income set by employers impacts living standards, pension contributions, as well as spending power in their local economy; they also play an important role in the health and wellbeing of employees.

However, with each part of the UK having an individual identity, history and economy, impacting its local population and their opportunities, the challenges to social mobility, and the solutions, may differ from region to region.

That’s where we think the use of our new #Data Explorer tool can help – join us at this event on 7 June at 12pm for employers to find out how you can utilise our new tool to understand your workforce distribution; provide insight for outreach activity and hiring activity; and to serve and support regional communities.

👇🏻 Register below.

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