Ofcom recognised for our social mobility commitments
Last week Ofcom improved our placing on the Social Mobility Index, which recognises employers that create opportunities for people from different social backgrounds.
We jumped 19 places since last year, to 88th out of 203 employers that actively assess and monitor their progress on social mobility. By social mobility, we mean making sure that as an employer Ofcom offers equal opportunities to all, but particularly those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
The index is an annual benchmarking tool assessing steps organisations take to ensure they’re open to talent from all walks of life. For example, the index looked at our work with young people through community outreach, routes into employment such as apprenticeships and graduate schemes, recruitment, retention, culture and advocacy. Each organisation receives a report outlining where they’re performing well and recommendations on where they can improve.
Being a fantastic place to work
Our vision is to build a stronger, more inclusive organisation that’s a fantastic place to work. If we are to make communications work for everyone in the UK – across our nations, regions and communities and for people of all ages and backgrounds – Ofcom itself must reflect the UK today. And this includes understanding the perspectives of people from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds. Socio-economic diversity is a strategic priority in our five-year diversity and inclusion strategy.
We also have a Social Inclusion Group, which brings together colleagues with experiences and interest in socio-economic diversity together. The group has tripled in size in recent years.
Kerri-Ann ONeill, People and Transformation Director recently said:
I’m delighted to see how our ranking has improved and am proud of the work our teams have done to get us there.
But we recognise there’s much more to do to ensure we have a truly diverse workforce with people from all backgrounds. Socio-economic diversity will continue to be a focus area for our internal and external diversity and inclusion work over the coming years.
Luisa Affuso, Ofcom Senior Management Team Sponsor for Socio-Economic Diversity recently said:
It’s been great to see some excellent initiatives taking place across Ofcom over the last year. Through our work with charities like Speakers for Schools, and Career Ready, we’re supporting 200-plus students from less privileged backgrounds during the pandemic.
We’ve offered five work experience programmes to around 200+ students, we’ve mentored young people and we’ve taken part in Career Ready’s Skills Festival. Several of our colleagues gave their time and expertise so students from all backgrounds could continue to build their skills and knowledge.
Our social mobility initiatives
Pathways to Law
Ofcom’s legal team partnered with the Sutton Trust’s ‘Pathways to Law’ programme, hosting five law students for paid work experience in September 2020. The programme aims to widen access to the legal profession, raise students' aspirations and allow them to make informed decisions about their future career. It is open to students who attend non-fee-paying schools, and who are also often the first in their family to attend university.
Apprentice and graduate opportunities
Working with Speakers for Schools and Career Ready, we promote apprenticeship and graduate opportunities available at Ofcom and encourage students to apply. We run sessions in which current graduates and apprentices talk to the students about their experiences of the programme to inspire them about the possibilities.
We also run CV-writing and interview preparation workshops. One of our students from the April work experience programme secured a policy apprenticeship.
Paid work experience and ongoing mentoring
During the summer, we took part in the EY Foundation’s Smart Futures, where we supported 20 students with an eight-day paid work experience programme and ongoing mentoring. Aimed at students from lower socio-economic backgrounds in the Manchester area, the Smart Futures programme supports students in gaining skills and securing a job offer after education.
Our recent graduate and internship programme recruitment campaigns have seen changes to positively impact the diversity of candidates, particularly to attract and support those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. We removed our minimum requirement of a 2:1 degree, there’s no minimum A-Level requirement, we no longer target Russell Group universities and added additional data metrics including free school meals and whether they were the first in their family to go to university.
We reached out to students from a lower socio-economic background at certain stages in the recruitment process where we traditionally see them dropping out – to see if they need support in preparing for an interview.
We’re also planning to continue to hold assessment centres virtually in 2022 to make them more accessible for all candidates.
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