Hot topic: HR and social mobility

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Is the UK in danger of regressing to an economically segregated society? What can companies do to improve social mobility? In the first part of this Hot Topic Stevan Rolls, head of HR at Deloitte, talks about access programmes.

As the economy recovers and the employment market heats up there are likely to be large gaps in supply and demand for talent. People-oriented businesses that haven’t adapted their approach to recruit diverse talent are certainly going to struggle.

Key to ensuring success is an increased focus on social mobility. However, this goes beyond short-term resourcing considerations and taps into values around fairness and meritocracy. A company’s ability to offer opportunities to people regardless of their background will be a critical factor. Employment propositions are moving away from traditional recruitment models to a more diverse approach and candidates are looking for more from an organisation than salary.

Over the past few years we have invested heavily to encourage an increase in social mobility across our profession. As part of this we have developed the Deloitte Access programme, which includes a unique partnership with Teach First.

The programme provides a holistic support package, giving pupils a greater understanding of the opportunities available, and equipping them with the skills they need in the workplace.

Our people get involved in three ways. Firstly, through direct mentoring relationships with students looking for a range of support from career advice to handling busy exam periods.

They can also work as a Teach First Futures mentor, with students who come from groups currently under-represented in universities. And they volunteer at schools, using their skills to support student development with specialist talks, briefings and workshops.

More than 610 of our people have been involved in our partnership with Teach First, engaging with almost 2,500 young people across the UK.

Although these activities might improve our recruitment, the greater goal is to support young people in reaching their full potential.

Stevan Rolls is head of HR at Deloitte  

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