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PwC roll out measures to support staff from lower socio-economic backgrounds

Support for prospective recruits from lower socio-economic backgrounds
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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

Following a major research project, one of the largest employers in the financial sector, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), has announced measures to support new joiners and prospective recruits from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

The project culminated in a “co-creation workshop” facilitated by Thinks Insight & Strategy, where new joiners and senior partners at PwC discussed the findings and explored ways to address the issues raised.

School leavers and graduates will now be able to advance up to a £1000 of their first month’s salary. The company said, with the option open to everyone, helping to reduce any potential stigma associated with the request.

In addition, salaries will be published on job descriptions for school leaver apprentice programmes, with a view to expanding this to all entry level roles, and increased mentoring will be made available for new joiners from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Socio-economic background data will also be incorporated into the way PwC monitors work allocation to ensure there is fair access to high profile clients and projects.

Ian Elliott, chief people officer at PwC, said: “We’re proud of the strides we’ve made broadening access to the firm, focusing on potential not pedigree. But equally important is how we support people to settle in and develop once they get here.”

It is clear that many of the challenges surfaced by the research could affect all prospective and new employees, he continued, but they are particularly acute for those from lower socio-economic backgrounds — particularly against the backdrop of rising living costs.

For example, new employees are keen to spend time socialising with colleagues, but are put off by the related costs, particularly before they have received their first paycheck. This exacerbates concerns many have about fitting in and networking.

“A vicious cycle emerges whereby people who may already feel daunted by corporate life, don’t establish the same support networks and lose confidence,” Mr Elliott concluded. “We want to help everyone start on the same footing.”

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