KPMG wants working-class people to account for 29% of its partners and directors by 2030, with “working-class” being defined by the company as those who have parents with “routine and manual” jobs, such as electricians, plumbers, or lorry drivers.
Currently, just 23% of KPMG’s 582 partners meet the working-class criteria and only 20% of its 1,297 directors. According to The Times, all of the firm’s 16,000 employees will be expected to undergo training on “invisible barriers” that people from working-class backgrounds have to face. Typically, people from working-class backgrounds are paid 8.6% less than colleagues from middle-class backgrounds — those whose parents had “higher managerial, administrative and professional” jobs.
KPMG’s chairwoman Bina Mehta says she comes from a working-class background and also says that she is “a passionate believer that greater diversity improves business performance.”
Mehta was appointed to the role following her predecessor’s forced resignation. Bill Michael was asked to step down after he told staff members to stop complaining about cuts to their bonuses via a Zoom call and dismissed the notion of unconscious bias in the workplace.
Although people from working-class backgrounds are still less likely to attain professional jobs, social mobility is gradually improving. Last year, 39% of people from a working-class background were in professional jobs, an increase of 6% on 2014.