Achieving high response rates to questions on socio-economic background can be challenging.
PwC have increased response rates from 30% to 80% on a number of key measures in the last two years. Their approach included having senior leaders championing the issue and contextualising the request in the problem they were hoping to help to solve.
Firmwide messages from PwC’s Chief People Officer, a newly formed social mobility network and sharing personal social mobility stories all encouraged completion of the survey. PwC also incorporated the questions into its annual, firmwide compliance training.
Information on how the data would be used was included, along with the purpose: to help improve equality of access to opportunities in the firm, as part of their wider social mobility activity. As a result of these efforts, responses to questions about socio-economic background rose by 50% to over 80% in total, allowing PwC to conduct further analysis looking at intersectionality of characteristics as well as progression and retention rates.
Programmes for disadvantaged young people
As part of it’s social mobility work, PwC delivers schools outreach and work experience programmes for disadvantaged young people that support students in having the connections, knowledge and confidence to pursue the career they aspire to. To keep these programmes available to students during the COVID-19 pandemic, PwC adapted them so they could be delivered virtually, and made them available to schools nationwide.
As part of its support for home schooling, PwC also provided guidance for parents and carers on how to use its online employability skills toolkit, which was originally designed to be delivered as lessons by career leaders and teachers. Topics within the toolkit include technology, work-readiness, financial literacy and wellbeing. It includes e-learns that provide students with interactive guidance and support on recruitment processes to support students applying to any role or sector. And during the lockdown, PwC made their ‘Tech We Can’ lessons available to parents, carers and students at home through the toolkit. The lessons were designed to help children engage and upskill in the many different uses of technology and the different careers available in the field.
The content of the online employability toolkit is accessible to any school, carer or parent, and it is heavily promoted to the firm’s social mobility target schools, which are located in social mobility coldspots and have a higher than average proportion of students in receipt of free school meals.
Through their employability skills toolkit and a number of other virtual programmes, resources and too.