Leading global law firm, Baker McKenzie has today been ranked 10th in the Social Mobility Employer Index 2020, the leading authority on employer best practice.  Baker McKenzie was recognised for ensuring its assessment process continued to be unbiased, had a consistent approach and established key competencies.

The Index was created by the Social Mobility Foundation in 2017 and ranks UK’s employers on the action they take to ensure they are open to and progressing talent from all backgrounds. It highlights the employers who are doing the most to change how they find, recruit, and advance talented employees regardless of their social backgrounds. Now in its fourth year, the Employer Index is the definitive benchmark of organisations committed to improving social mobility in the workplace.

Employers are assessed across seven key areas, including their work with young people, routes into the organisation, how they attract talent, recruitment and selection, data collection, progression, experienced hires, and advocacy.

This year saw 119 employers from 17 sectors, who collectively employ almost one million people in the UK, answer around 100 questions. In addition to the employers’ responses, over 14,000 employees also took part in a voluntary employee survey. 
 
Baker McKenzie has been ranked 10th in the Index for the work we have done to tackle this issue, ensuring we enable those from lower socio-economic backgrounds to access the legal profession and to succeed when they get here. Key to this was the Firm’s continued approach to targeting more non-Russell Group universities and widening the net for talent across the UK. This was further enhanced by amending our assessment centres to an online model and contacting all of the candidates ahead of the assessment to ensure they were comfortable with the process. In addition, the Firm increased its diversity events and continued to monitor where the applicants first heard of Baker McKenzie and how they progressed through the procedure making certain the unbiased nature of the application process.
 
Arron Slocombe, partner in the Firm's Pensions Practice and Partner lead for its BakerOpportunity social mobility focus group in London said: “Inclusion and diversity is absolutely integral to our culture and underpins our business and people strategy.  Baker McKenzie are delighted to be named in the Top 10 of the Social Mobility Employer Index.  It recognises our active and holistic approach to working across the Firm - and beyond [with young people from across the UK and partner organisations] - to ensure people from all backgrounds and communities have access to equal opportunity to succeed and realise their potential.” 

Sarah Atkinson, chief executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, said:
“I am delighted that Baker McKenzie committed to entering the Index this year despite the challenges they have faced in the wake of the pandemic. Now more than ever, we need to see business play their part in the levelling up agenda.” 

The Rt. Hon. Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility Foundation, added: 
“As the Covid-19 crisis continues and the UK descends into a sharp recession, more will need to be done to avoid a job catastrophe, for young people particularly. Already 60% of the jobs that have been lost since the pandemic began have been among 18-24 year olds.
I urge those sectors of our economy that are not represented in this year’s Index to participate in 2021 and commit to joining the ranks of those employers who are already making such a difference to young people’s life chances.”

Notes to editors
For further information, interviews or further comments please contact: 
Antony Haddley, Communications Manager, SMF
E: press.office@socialmobility.org.uk
T: 0203 778 0520

About the Social Mobility Employer Index

The Social Mobility Foundation’s Employer Index was established in 2017 to encourage firms to become more accessible to individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. The methodology was developed in collaboration with the Bridge Group, a non-profit consultancy that uses research to promote social equality.
 
The Index is comprised of two elements, questions directed at employers, and an employee survey, which was introduced in 2018. The former assesses employers work across seven areas: their work with young people, routes into the employer, the attraction of staff, recruitment and selection, data collection, progression of staff and experienced hires and advocacy. The latter is to add qualitative insights and contextualise the data provided in submissions. Employers are then benchmarked against one another based on the results.
 
In 2020, questions asked to employers and employees remained the same to give employers consistency. Since 2017 a few questions have been tweaked, and additional questions added around culture and intersectionality. For crucial questions, organisations are asked for several years of data to monitor the impact of the changes that organisations have been implementing.
 
Index submissions are considered and marked against the latest empirical evidence of what interventions effectively advance social equality in the UK workplace. Our approach is rigorous and ensures a fair process, recognising that different sectors and individual businesses do things differently. This includes: 
 
a. Identifying a broad range of questions that interrogate the various ways in which employers can contribute to social equality.
 
b. Weighting responses based on the evidence that some areas have more impact on social equality relative to others. For example, there is substantial evidence that providing work experience placements for young people is more impactful than general outreach; and that some approaches to recruitment lead to more equal outcomes compared to others. 
 
c. Weighting whole sections of the marking scheme based on where maximum impact can be delivered. Within each section, every organisation is then categorised within a decile, so that modest differences in scoring do not then significantly affect the overall ranking. 
 
d. Recognising that not all organisations will score marks for each question. For example, they may not have formal graduate recruitment programmes because of their size. Therefore, organisations are ranked based on the percentage of available marks they have achieved. 
 
Please note that data is presented in the report as a percentage of the overall submissions, unless otherwise stated, and therefore where percentages have fallen between 2020 and 2019, this is amongst a smaller number of entrants (119 in 2020 vs 125 in 2019).  The employers included in the 2020 Index employ 973,735 people.
 
For further information about the Index, please visit http://www.socialmobility.org.uk/index/

About the Social Mobility Foundation

The Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) is a charity that aims to make practical improvements in social mobility for young people from low-income backgrounds both through programme work and through its advocacy and campaigning arm, the Department for Opportunities (DO).

It runs free of charge programmes of mentoring, internships, university application support (including trips to universities and help with personal statements, aptitude tests and interviews) and career and skills workshops to support young people through their sixth-form and university years.

Currently taking on a new cohort of over 2000 young people every year, the SMF has offices in Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Newcastle and runs programmes for young people from the Isle of Wight to the Western Isles of Scotland across 11 career sectors (Accountancy, Architecture, Banking & Finance, Biology & Chemistry, Business, Engineering & Physics, Law, Media & Communications, Medicine, Politics, and Digital).

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