In Reaching potential? Advancing Social Mobility in 2022-23, we analyse all eligible entries to the UK Social Mobility Awards (SOMOs) 2023 to explore the work done by employers and educators to advance social mobility over the past year, as well as barriers overcome and key enablers to effective social mobility work. In 2023, organisations employing almost 1 million people across 15 sectors (including finance, law, professional services, government, food, and hospitality) entered the SOMOs.
In 2022-23, the majority of employers aimed to advance social mobility through outreach activities that informed people from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds (LSEBs) about careers in a range of sectors. This is a vital starting point to improve socio-economic diversity. However, compared to 2022, a lower proportion of employers focused on recruitment and retention initiatives – which are essential to ensure equitable outcomes and inclusive workplaces for LSEB employees. In examples of best practice, employers used socio-economic background (SEB) data and strategies to inform social mobility action across the full employee journey, and adopted intersectional approaches to address the multiple workplace barriers faced by LSEB individuals who identified as part of further marginalised groups.
Among educators, we find that schools, colleges, and universities continued vital work to advance social mobility for pupils and students from LSEBs by improving educational outcomes and experiences, expanding post-16 pathways, widening access to higher education, and supporting transitions to work.
Dr Padmini Iyer, Making the Leap
Katrina Leary, independent social researcher
Emily Davies, Howard Kennedy
Image: Pates Grammar School