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Increasing socio-economic diversity in professional services firms starts with the applicant pipeline.

Potential applicants from lower socio-economic backgrounds often deselect themselves before considering careers in these sectors. They make assumptions about the types of people who work in them; and a lack of clear role models allows these negative stereotypes to persist.

Allen & Overy’s Smart Start programme aims to change these perceptions by granting more young people access to the inside of a law firm, providing a glimpse into the life of an entry level lawyer and the range of different roles and people who work there. For one week each year, Year 12 students from schools and colleges across the UK take part in workshops to build their aspirations, develop their skills, meet senior staff and clients, and learn tips on interview technique, CV writing and presenting themselves effectively.

Allen & Overy is also working with social mobility charity upReach to provide career guidance and support to young people who have been on the Smart Start programme, to help level the playing field with peers who may already be aware of work experience schemes, internships and other opportunities. The firm is now seeing applications from, and offering training contracts to, participants in the programme.

Latest news and blogs

Social Mobility Data Masterclass – why you need to #AskTheQuestion

In our recent Social Mobility Data Masterclass, we explored the importance of collecting data on employee’s socio-economic backgrounds for creating effective diversity and inclusion strategies. You can watch the recording of the Social Mobility Data Masterclass here. We were joined by Andrew Young, Workforce Diversity Lead at the BBC; Cliff Sale, Social Mobility Programme Lead, […]

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21 April for the launch event on our upcoming research paper:

13/04/2021

Join us on 21 April for the launch event on our upcoming research paper: ‘Navigating the labyrinth’ – a comprehensive study on how socio-economic background shapes career #progression within the Civil Service, with key learnings for employers. Sign up to attend here ➡ https://lnkd.in/dUJ46Yr

Led by our Commissioner, Sam Freidman, the report sparks discussion about the unwritten rules to progression. It’s an example of the UK Civil Service taking the lead on #SocialMobility; acknowledging what more needs to be done and showing others how they can follow suit.

At the #LaunchEvent we’ll discuss the findings of the report and what it means for social mobility.

The event will be chaired by Sandra M Wallace, interim Co-Chair, Social Mobility Commission. Joining her on the #panel is:

• Professor Sam Freidman, Social Mobility Commission
• Nik Miller, Bridge Group
• Louise Ashley, Royal Holloway, University of London
• Dr Dave O’Brien, The University of Edinburgh
• Bernadette Kelly, Department for Transport (DfT), United Kingdom and Social Mobility Champion in the Civil Service
• Alex Thomas, Institute for Government

See you there!

#WhoGetsOn

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