Sarah Hathaway, head of ACCA UK (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants): 'It’s a no-brainer to say this cosy elite needs to be opened up, and it is certainly something we support. However, it isn’t solely about what school and university someone went to. Employers have a major role to play in making genuine change to social mobility so that it isn’t just a tick box, CSR exercise that involves little more than inviting school children from a deprived area into the office for a day. Our own research shows that just half of employees say social mobility is an important issue for their employer.
'For change to take place, there needs to be recognition of the alternatives to what are seen as traditional routes to the top. Professional qualifications and apprenticeships should have equal standing, if not more value than a private schooling background, an Oxbridge degree and a job through ‘a family friend’. For that to happen, employers, as well as government, schools and universities need to make more proactive efforts, such as some of those proposed by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, but it will also require a major culture change across all those institutions.'
ACCA will be publishing a report on social mobility in the autumn.
ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We support our 170,000 members and 436,000 students in 180 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of 91 offices and centres and more than 8,500 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. We seek to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating our qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers.