Skanska is a Top 50 employer for social mobility

Press release 21/06/2017 13:00 CET

Skanska has today been ranked at number three in the Top 50 employers in the UK’s first-ever Social Mobility Employer Index.

From left to right this shows: Skanska Community Engagement Advisor Harry Wain, Rachel Penfold, civil engineering apprentice at Careys and Skanska trainee Tom Holton.

The Index is a joint initiative between the Social Mobility Foundation and 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 showcases progress towards improving social mobility in the workplace.

The aim of the Index is 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. 

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.

Skanska has been ranked three in the Index for the work it has taken to tackle this and enable those that may be disadvantaged or from different socio-economic backgrounds to succeed. 

Measures taken by the company to improve social mobility include its Experience Skanska programme. It provides tailored work placements for those not in education, employment or training (NEETs), offenders, ex-military, those with disability, apprentices and people returning from a career break of two years or more, which can be for a number of reasons.

Firms from 17 sectors, who collectively employ just under one million people, submitted entries about their practices and procedures in areas such as work with young people, recruitment, selection and progression. The final rankings were decided by a respected panel of experts and all firms will receive a report with recommendations for areas for improvement.

Skanska’s success in the Index was announced on 21 June at a launch event at the City of London and in a supplement in The Times newspaper.

Harvey Francis, Executive Vice President Skanska UK, said: “We put these programmes in place to create opportunities for us to recruit people from diverse backgrounds, combined with support to help them thrive when they join us. For some time we have been successfully recruiting people who are more reflective of society and the communities that we work in. We believe that a diverse and inclusive culture is key to creating a successful and sustainable business and is the right thing to do for society.”

David Johnston, chief executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, said: “All the Top 50 firms in the Social Mobility Employer Index should be applauded for the progress they are making towards ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to get in and get on – regardless of their background. They should be congratulated both for having prioritised social mobility and for being prepared to have their processes and practices independently scrutinised.”

The Rt Hon Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility Commission, added: “Social mobility is hugely important if the UK is to become more productive and make the most of its talent. But research has shown that people from working class backgrounds – even if they are high educational attainers – are less likely to secure professional jobs because they have less access to the networks and knowledge to navigate the system.

“The Top 50 firms are paving the way by changing their workforce strategies to ensure they get don’t lose out on talented people from less privileged backgrounds.”

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chairman for the City of London Corporation, said: “These firms have shown real ambition in their approach to tackling social mobility. They are leading the way in removing the barriers which are holding back the best and brightest candidates in our society. Statistics show that people from more prosperous backgrounds, who attend private schools and elite universities, often take a disproportionate number of the best jobs.”