The office of the Deputy Prime Minister has released a list of UK companies that have signed up to the Business Compact. Over a hundred businesses are on the list, many of them well-known household names such as Asda, Barclays, BP and Tesco. The list also includes prestigious professional practices such as Allen and Overy, Ernst & Young, Eversheds and KPMG.
An Element of the Social Mobility Strategy
The Business Compact is a voluntary, non-regulated initiative that was designed to combat discrimination in recruitment and open up opportunities to those who have traditionally been excluded, or have excluded themselves. One of the ideas in the Compact is to leave names and educational establishments out of CVs, because these can give clues to the candidate’s background.
It also requires more involvement in community projects to lift the aspirations of young people who come from less advantaged families or areas. They might send staff out to schools to give inspirational career talks, to act as mentors, and to help youngsters become confident interviewees. Work experience placements will be publicly advertised in place of the word of mouth informal methods previously accepted. They will offer greater financial rewards or assistance to trainees and interns to encourage those who might not be able to afford the travel and subsistence required.
In the words of Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, “This is an important step towards a society where it’s what you know, not who you know, that counts.” He held a reception on 12 January to thank those who had signed up and will be encouraging more businesses to do so.
Benefits for Everyone
The government believes the Compact will good for businesses as well as bringing more opportunities to disadvantaged individuals. It will introduce a wider pool of talent to select from, with ability and enthusiasm the criteria that matter. Whether the opportunities have been discovered through privileged contact or the more open advertising practices, the playing field will be level for everyone. Whatever their gender or ethnicity, if they are able to do the job, and ready to work hard, make a contribution, learn and develop even more skills, they can win through and be a credit to their employers, their families and the community.