Thursday, June 22, 2017

News: Greening launches Social Mobility Employer Index


Justine Greening MP, the Rotherham-born Secretary of State for Education, and Minister for Women and Equalities, has helped to launch a new index to encourage firms to share their initiatives and progress in becoming more inclusive employers and to reveal which sectors and companies are taking the issue of social mobility most seriously.

The Social Mobility Employer Index is a joint initiative between the Social Mobility Foundation and the Social Mobility Commission, in partnership with the City of London Corporation. It ranks Britain's employers for the first time on the actions they are taking to ensure they are open to accessing and progressing talent from all backgrounds and it showcases progress towards improving social mobility.

Research has consistently shown that people from more affluent backgrounds take a disproportionate number of the best jobs and that employers tend to disproportionately employ graduates who went to private schools and elite universities.

Having previously talked about finding and nurturing "rough diamonds," the MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields spoke at the launch of the index. Greening said: "I think talent is spread evenly throughout our country, throughout our communities; and fundamentally our country would be better the more we can unlock all of that. I think we can change the internal plumbing of our country to make it more socially mobile.

"We don't want people to just be going into jobs. We want them to be going into careers where they can continue to develop themselves and their ideas and their potential throughout their whole life, not just at the beginning of it.

"That's where business comes in. That's also where communities and civil society comes in. The launch of this Index today is about starting to put some numbers and evidence around how we can do that systematically and at scale."


The Conservative minister, who attended Oakwood Comprehensive School and Thomas Rotherham College, also talked about growing up in the borough. She added: "We do need to recognise that there are a myriad of barriers – some of them big but some of them small – that stack up against people who are starting perhaps from further behind. People who, when we talk about a level playing field, are the ones furthest away from having it.

"I certainly remember from my own childhood growing up in Rotherham it was a very difficult time, actually. Many of the children growing up in that town, including myself, saw our parents lose their jobs and you felt like you were a long way from seeing opportunity on your doorstep.

"This steady realisation as quite a young child for me, that to get opportunity I was going to have to work a long time, and very hard, just to get myself into a position to be able to start to have some opportunities.

"I knew also that the beginning of that was education and probably being able to go university. Which is why the fact that so many more disadvantaged children are now getting into university for the first time, why people like me back in the 80s and 90s are no longer the norm and actually it’s pretty normal for people from those backgrounds to get to university now, why that’s so important."

The first comprehensive school educated secretary of state for education studied at Southampton University, earning an MBA from the London Business School and used to work in business.

The banking, legal and professional sectors make up the bulk of the top 50 employers in the index. Rolls Royce Plc enters at number 21. The Derby firm has a £110m casting facility on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham and works along side the AMRC Training Centre to bring through the manufacturing workforce of the future.

Social Mobility Foundation website

Images: DfE


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