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Big four consulting firm KPMG has become the first big business in Britain to publicly set a target for the number of working-class staff.
It said it was aiming for nearly a third (29%) of its partners and directors to come from the socioeconomic classification by 2030.
KPMG defined working class people as those who had parents with “routine and manual” jobs, such as plumbers, electricians, butchers and van drivers.
Currently, 23% of KPMG's 582 partners and 20% of its 1,297 directors meet the working class criteria. The firm said that those from what were considered to be lower socioeconomic backgrounds were typically paid 8.6% less than those whose parents worked in “higher managerial, administrative and professional” jobs.
KPMG is planning for all its 16,000 employees to receive training on “invisible barriers” that exist for people from less affluent backgrounds.
Bina Mehta, chair of KPMG, who describes herself as coming from a working-class background, said: “I’m a passionate believer that greater diversity improves business performance. Diversity brings fresh thinking and different perspectives to decision-making, which in turn delivers better outcomes for our clients.”
Mehta was appointed chair this year after her predecessor, Bill Michael, resigned following a backlash over comments he made to staff during a Zoom call.