Financial and professional services toolkit

For employers

Financial and professional services


Maximise engagement with a wide range of prospective applicants.

Are you reaching the widest possible pool of talent? You could look to explore partnerships with Further Education colleges or target geographic ‘coldspots’. Watch the video for more top tips or read our full guidance below.


Recommendations for developing a socio-economic strategy. Activities at each level are related, but distinguished by scale, detail or commitment.

Commit the organisation to broadening its recruitment pool by reaching out to a wide set of education providers (e.g. FE colleges as well as schools).

Devise a strategy to ‘open doors’ for a new, fresh and diverse intake that might otherwise have been missed.

Appoint ‘ambassadors’ to inspire and inform a new generation of potential employees whose circumstances might otherwise have excluded them from your profession.

See this as a form of marketing as well as a more enlightened recruitment policy.

Develop a clear overarching strategy for outreach work involving:

  • a strategic plan setting out clear and measurable targets that benefit the target audience
  • activity focused on achieving specific outcomes for pupils (e.g. awareness of certain roles/professions, presentation, teamwork and problem-solving skills)
  • partnerships with other organisations that seek to improve skills such as English and maths, as well as softer skills (e.g. skills builder or Gatsby framework)

Use different methods of delivery to widen your organisations reach (e.g. virtual and face-to-face).

Ensure that outreach activities are joined up across different teams in the organisation.

Take advantage of the numerous existing mechanisms for outreach to non-fee paying schools or comprehensive schools – don’t invent it all yourself (see organisation directory).

Provide training to staff on how to interact with students in a way that means when students visit the workplace, they feel welcomed, valued, secure and confident. The aim is to provide opportunities and remove barriers rather than purely building aspirations.

Create a pre- and post-evaluation survey to monitor impact.


Recommendations for optimising your approach. Activities at each level are related, but distinguished by scale, detail or commitment.

Involve employees, particularly those from diverse backgrounds, in the design and implementation of the outreach programme.

Target activities at young people with ‘potential, not polish’, including in social mobility coldspots and at schools and further education colleges with high rates of free school meals, using publicly available school and college data.1

Draw on teachers’ views of what will benefit pupils most through surveys, questionnaires and career fairs to help feed into your plan.

Ensure success measures are overseen and owned by senior colleagues.

Link outcomes for pupils engaged in early outreach to the Gatsby Benchmarks.

1 For more on social mobility coldspots, view the Social Mobility Commission’s report: State of the Nation, 2017


Deliver a long-term programme of complementary activities with multiple touch points rather than separately (e.g. proactive mentoring with work experience placements).

Make outreach participants aware of opportunities to progress into the organisation and expectations about what is required.

Ensure internships, insight days and other work experience opportunities are targeted at a diverse range of applicants.

Ensure these opportunities are publicly advertised, paid at least the voluntary Living Wage and, where appropriate, supported with travel stipends or other bursaries.


Create your programme to develop sustained relationships with participants.

Develop materials and guidance that wider influencers can draw on, including teachers and parents.

Deliver activities in collaboration with other employers and the further education and higher education sectors (e.g. Access Accountancy).

Include digital activities to promote scale, access and breadth in engagement. Work with organisations who understand best practice, the digital divide and safeguarding online.

Provide specific opportunities for participants to maintain engagement:

  • regular ‘touch-base’ conversations outside of formal activities (especially important in virtual programmes)
  • a pipeline of activities, communications and learning
  • varied pathways into the organisation for those who are interested (e.g. apprenticeships that can lead to a similar result as graduate schemes)

Analyse data to examine how participation converts to appointments and how this varies by social background.

Ringfence some internships for applicants from under‑represented groups, including by socio-economic background.

Provide elements of the graduate or apprenticeship application process to individuals at internship/work experience application process level to provide a fast‑track through to recruitment.


Use your strategic plan to identify key impact metrics and measure against these (use our scorecard for ideas).

Collect data on participant characteristics to assess whether those engaged meet eligibility criteria.

Gather feedback from participants to understand:

  • whether they feel they have benefited from the outreach
  • if they would recommend it to peers
  • how activities can be improved


Use your strategic plan to assess impact of the activities against outcomes identified at all stages.

Validate and refine the strategic plan by tracking key behavioural and destination outcomes for participants, and verifying these against the outcomes highlighted in the model.

Legal and accountancy firms please also refer to Appendix A for additional data recommendations that may be required by regulators.

“Our social background frames our life experiences and at Allen & Overy we recognise that we are all enriched by the varied perspectives a diverse workplace brings.”
Emma Turnbull, Community Investment Officer Allen & Overy