Standard Life has today been ranked as one of the Top 50 employers in the UK’s first-ever Social Mobility Employer Index, entering the new Index in fourth place.

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 new 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.

Standard Life has been ranked fourth in the Index for the commendable work it has taken to tackle this and enable those from lower socio-economic backgrounds to succeed. Measures taken by the company to improve social mobility include:
• Expanding its recruitment network with organisations that support specific groups, such as veterans, school leavers, BAME or those with disabilities, and building supported entry programmes to support the transition into the workplace
• Introducing structured internships and apprenticeships, along with new recruitment practices to break down barriers e.g. qualification neutral approach for school leaver interns
• Paying a minimum of the voluntary Living Wage, regardless of age or experience, to all employees including interns
• Providing a network of support to help people reach their potential, through training, development, employee networks and mentoring
Creating a culture that is open and supportive, that helps to build greater advocacy so Standard Life is known to be welcoming to minority groups and supportive of those who face different challenges.
• 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.

Standard Life’s success in the Index will be announced today at a launch event at the City of London and in a supplement in The Times newspaper.

Standard Life’s Chief People Officer Sandy Begbie said:

“Standard Life has made an on-going commitment to break down barriers to employment and to help support people into work, irrespective of background or the individual challenges they may face. We believe that building a diverse and inclusive workforce is crucial to our culture and our future business success, and building greater social mobility is also important to the communities where we operate.

“We've been leading on a number of initiatives, including our youth employment agenda, which has been a huge success helping more young people into work. We’re also actively supporting armed forces veterans and our employees who are working carers. We couldn't have achieved what we have to date without the support of our people and the partners we work with and we’re immensely pleased to have entered the new Social Mobility Index in fourth place. But there’s always more to be done and working together, we’re looking forward to achieving even more in the future.”

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 don’t lose out on talented people from less privileged backgrounds. We want the index to herald a step change towards improving social mobility by encouraging many more employers to compete to recruit, and keep, the best and brightest candidates – regardless of background.”

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.

“But more companies are making progress on social mobility, casting the net wider in the search for talent and recognising that a level playing field is in the best interests for all businesses. The Index is an effective incentive to UK businesses to demonstrate the progress they are making in this vital area.”

Notes for Editors

For further information, please contact:

Nicki Lundy, Senior Media Affairs Manager, Standard Life
Tel: 0131 245 2737

The Social Mobility Employer Index

1)    The Index questionnaire has been developed in consultation with, and following feedback from social mobility experts and major employers. Categories include:
*    working with young people - well-evaluated programmes that reach beyond the doorstep of the office to all of the country’s talent, and which provide routes into the employer/profession for those that have the interest and aptitude
*    routes into work - well-structured non-graduate routes that provide genuine parity of esteem and comparable progression to graduate ones
*    attraction - innovative ways of reaching beyond graduates of the usual five to ten universities many top employers focus their efforts on
*    recruitment and selection - evidence that the employer removes hurdles that will disproportionately affect those from lower socio-economic groups and is moving to a system that judges potential rather than past academic performance or polish
*    data collection - rigorous analysis of the profile of the workforce and of measures taken to improve its diversity
*    progression - effective strategies that help those from lower socio-economic groups get on rather than just get in
*    internal/external advocacy - action to get more of their staff involved in efforts to improve social mobility and to get suppliers/peer firms to also take action

2)    For further information about the Index, please visit

The City of London Corporation

The City of London Corporation is dedicated to a thriving global City supporting a strong and diverse London within a prospering nation.

It boosts young people’s skills and employability through its partnership with City institutions to tackle youth unemployment including through apprenticeships, mentoring, paid work placements schemes and responsible procurement.

The City Corporation has created ‘The City’s Business’ - a guide which highlights the vital role that City firms can play in reducing youth unemployment in London, and it has pledged to employ 100 apprentices by the end of 2017/18.

The City of London Business Traineeship programme, run on behalf of the City of London Corporation, helps state school students from the City’s neighbouring boroughs to develop the skills needed for a successful career. Through the award-winning programme, students can access 6-13 week paid internships at some of the City’s most prestigious businesses and institutes. Since the programme launched in 1994, over 1,500 young people have benefited from paid internships with more than 100 of the Square Mile’s top employers providing placements.

The City Corporation provides state education through its sponsorship of academies across Hackney, Islington and Southwark, where 77% of students achieved 5A*-C grades in subjects including English and mathematics.

It supports London’s communities through responsible business, charitable giving, improving the capital’s air quality, providing education and skills for young people and delivering affordable housing across seven London boroughs - and it is building another 3,700 homes across London by 2025.

The City Corporation encourages businesses to support their communities, their workforce and the environment, through the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards, the Sustainable City Awards and Heart of the City.

City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of £20 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital. The Trust has awarded around 7,600 grants totalling over £350 million since it first began in 1995. It helps achieve the Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.

About Standard Life

• Standard Life was established in Edinburgh in 1825. Today it is a  global investment company helping people to invest and manage their  money.
• Around 4.5 million customers and clients across 45 countries trust  Standard Life with their financial future and Standard Life is  responsible for the administration of over £360 billion of their assets.  Standard Life also supports over 25 million customers through Indian  and Chinese associate and joint venture businesses.
• Standard Life Investments actively manages £278 billion worldwide,  offering global asset management expertise with strong investment  capabilities and performance.
• Standard Life employs around 6,300 people internationally – through  businesses in the UK, Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.
• Standard Life plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange with around 1.2 million individual shareholders.
• Wherever Standard Life operates in the world, it is motivated by a sense of responsibility. That is what has helped it be a sustainable business over the long term. Standard Life is proud to be listed as a leader for corporate sustainability in its industry in the Dow Jones  Sustainability™ Indices (DJSI World and DJSI Europe).

All figures at 31 March 2017

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