The Social Mobility Pledge is all about leveraging the power that businesses have to create opportunity. 

Visit any company in the UK and you will see people working to make more of their lives for themselves and their families. They are there because at some point, someone took a risk and started their own business, which now creates opportunity for others. In essence, that is social mobility, but there is much more we can do to create more opportunities and to spread them more widely. 

That was the topic of discussion when our chairman and former Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain sofa. 

It comes after new research was published from our founding partner, the Harrison Centre for Social Mobility. The study by the Harrison Centre, involving 4,000 members of the public, shows that that: 

  • Just 26 per cent of UK workers believe they are more financially secure than their highest earning parent or guardian was at their age;
  • almost a third of the over-55s feel they are better off than their parents were, against a low of 23 per cent among 25 to 34-year-olds, according to the study; 
  • social mobility is marginally higher among men, with 30 per cent considering themselves to be better off than their parents at their age, versus 24 per cent for women; and 
  • social mobility is marginally higher among men, with 30 per cent considering themselves to be better off than their parents at their age, versus 24 per cent for women; and 
  • people in Edinburgh appeared to be the most upwardly mobile – with 33 per cent better off than their parents – compared to a low of 19 per cent in Sheffield. 

The research also shows that a lack of accessible job prospects beyond London to progress careers and earn more is an underlying barrier to social mobility. Respondents were asked to describe the amount of such opportunities within a 25-mile radius of their home. 

In London, 31 per cent of respondents said there were “lots of opportunities”, compared to just five per cent in Wales, seven per cent in Yorkshire and the Humber and eight per cent in the North East. 

These are some of the issues we hope to address with the Social Mobility Pledge. The Pledge asks businesses to help by partnering with local schools and colleges, offering apprenticeships or training programmes to people from disadvantaged backgrounds and implementing open recruitment policies such as name-blind applications or contextual recruitment. 

Already, BT, Adidas, ITV and True Potential have become accredited the Social Mobility employers. We would like other businesses to do the same by signing the Pledge here.

Matthew McPherson