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Freshfields recognised as a top 20 employer in 2020 Social Mobility Employer Index

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (‘Freshfields’) has today been ranked 19th in the Social Mobility Employer Index 2020, the leading authority on employer best practice, demonstrating the firm’s commitment to social mobility in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year, the firm has climbed an impressive 45 places, having ranked 64th on the Index in 2019, and is recognised for its work towards improving social mobility and ensuring those from lower socio-economic backgrounds are able to thrive and succeed.

Now in its fourth year, the Employer Index, which identifies the top 75 employers, is the definitive benchmark of organisations committed to improving social mobility in the workplace. It ranks the UK’s employers on the action they take to ensure they are open to and progressing talent from all backgrounds, and highlights those doing the most to change how they find, recruit, and advance talented employees from different social class backgrounds.

Employers are assessed across seven key areas, these include their work with young people, routes into the company, how they attract talent, recruitment and selection, data collection, progression, experienced hires, and advocacy.

In recent years, Freshfields has taken significant steps to address social mobility in the workplace through a number of programmes and partnerships, including the Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship Scheme. The scheme is designed to address the disproportionate under-representation in large commercial law firms and other City institutions of black men from less socially mobile backgrounds. This year, the firm set up its own Social Mobility Network to support people in the workplace.

Annette Byron, partner sponsor for social mobility, said: “This ranking demonstrates Freshfields’ commitment to diversity, inclusion, and talent regardless of background. The improvement in ranking reflects steps we have taken to improving opportunities for social mobility in outreach, recruitment and progression.  We know that there are still improvements to be made and have established a Social Mobility Network to help us achieve this.”

Sarah Atkinson, chief executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, said: “I am delighted that Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer committed to entering the Index this year when we are all facing the challenges of the pandemic. Now more than ever, we need to see business play their part in the levelling up agenda.” 

The Rt. Hon. Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility Foundation, added: “As the Covid-19 crisis continues and the UK descends into a sharp recession, more will need to be done to avoid a job catastrophe, for young people particularly. Already 60% of the jobs that have been lost since the pandemic began have been among 18-24 year olds.

“I urge those sectors of our economy that are not represented in this year’s Index to participate in 2021 and commit to joining the ranks of those employers who are already making such a difference to young people’s life chances.”