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KPMG: Leading on social mobility

KPMG: Leading on social mobility

KPMG’s pioneering role in promoting social mobility



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Talent – how to recruit, retain and reward it – is one of the most pressing challenges facing organisations today. KPMG’s greatest asset is our people and their skills. By recruiting employees from all social backgrounds and across all strands of diversity, we benefit from a wide range of viewpoints on client matters, foresight in our decisions and meaningful challenge around all our actions.

All of our Corporate Responsibility (CR) activity focuses on supporting people from less advantaged backgrounds by promoting lifelong learning and increasing numeracy and literacy skills. This work to drive social mobility is producing clear results. Our work with over 16,000 beneficiaries in 2016, helped us gain the number two spot in the inaugural Social Mobility Employer Index. And at the first UK Social Mobility Awards held in October 2017, KPMG won three awards including ‘Leadership of the Year’.

Our Outreach

KPMG works with over 30 primary and 100 secondary schools nationally. All partner schools were identified through an algorithm, developed by the Bridge Group that allows us to focus our efforts on communities most in need of our support.

We have co-sponsored The City Academy, Hackney for 10 years, where KPMG volunteers provide a holistic programme of support, including five positions on the Board of Governors, including the Chair of Governors. We have also provided the school pro-bono with guidance on financial management and a wide range of academic and employability support, as well as work experience to broaden students’ career horizons.

Addressing the geography of disadvantage is a key priority for KPMG and we recently became a ‘Cornerstone Employer’ in the Opportunity Areas of Fenland and East Cambridgeshire and Norwich.

A key part of our commitment to social mobility is preparing young people from less advantaged backgrounds for the future world of work. Our annual employability road show, ‘WorkReady’, for example, reaches 2,000 students across the UK each year. The workshop allows young people to learn about the changing world of work and technological innovation alongside KPMG volunteers.

Our work placements

KPMG’s flagship work placement programme, the ‘Discovery programme’ has been running since 2013 in support of Access Accountancy. This aims to raise awareness of opportunities in the profession for young people and to help build a diverse pipeline for KPMG’s school and college leaver programmes. We work with the Social Mobility Foundation to offer residential work placements to students in less accessible areas where such opportunities are limited.

Our school and college leaver programmes

We are an industry leader in developing programmes for school leavers to widen participation, including:

  • The KPMG360° apprenticeship, which provides fairer access through lowering grade barriers. The scheme offers experience across audit, tax and advisory, a technical qualification after three years and the opportunity to continue to a professional qualification, providing parity with our graduate entry;
  • Our KPMG360° Digital four year degree-level apprenticeship, which launches this year, offers a number of rotations with technology teams across the firm. As well as working with these teams, the apprentices will complete a BSc degree in Digital and Technology Solutions; and
  • Our Business Services Academy 15-month apprenticeship, in which candidates work as a team secretary or graphics operator, while studying for NVQ Level 3 in Business and Administration.

A commitment to leading the field

KPMG has long taken a leading role in promoting social mobility – from our advocacy of the Living Wage, to being the driving force behind the development of Access Accountancy, a sector wide initiative to improve access to the profession. In December 2016, we became the first business in the UK to publish comprehensive data on the socio-economic background of our workforce.

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