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Navigating the labyrinth: socio-economic background and career progression in the Civil Service

A report highlighting how socio-economic background shapes career progression within the Civil Service, and an action plan outlining recommendations to improve.

The Civil Service is one of the country’s largest employers, employing 445,480 people across the United Kingdom. It is a trailblazer for diversity efforts and aims to be the UK’s most inclusive employer, setting the direction for others to follow.

‘Navigating the labyrinth’, the first ever independent, data-driven investigation of how socio-economic background shapes career progression in the Civil Service is the next chapter in this pioneering approach. It demonstrates the urgent need to put class and socio-economic inclusivity at the centre of this drive toward inclusion and fairness. Specifically, the Social Mobility Commission examines the UK’s largest workforce dataset on socio-economic diversity, alongside over 100 in-depth interviews.

The complementary action plan outlines a set of practical recommendations to improve socio-economic diversity and inclusion in the Civil Service, based on the barriers uncovered in Navigating the labyrinth.

The SMC believe the action plan that this process has generated, while made for the Civil Service, offers many tangible steps that all employers can apply as they seek to tackle socio-economic barriers to progression. There is no ‘silver bullet’ to solving diversity and inclusion, and that shines through in the SMC’s multi-step plan. Employers should embrace a layered approach to drive change.

Download a pdf of the report.