Monday 7 March 2016 6:08 pm

Social mobility in the City: Almost one in ten Deloitte staff members received free school meals, as Big Four firm reveals the socio-economic and educational background of its staff

Big Four accountancy firm Deloitte has today published the socio-economic and educational background information for its staff in a bid to improve social mobility.

Findings from the data include that almost one in ten (nine per cent) staff members received free meals while at school and more than half (51 per cent) were the first in their family to attend university.

Meanwhile, two out of five (43 per cent) of Deloitte's staff attended a non-selective state school.

"We want to show that everyone can thrive, develop and succeed in our firm but realise that a perception exists among some that the professional and financial services sectors are a 'closed-shop'," said David Sproul, senior partner and chief executive of Deloitte UK. "This view is not helped by the lack of information available. We hope that by publishing this data we can go some way to dispelling this myth, whilst also recognising that we have a lot of work to do before we truly reflect the clients and communities we serve."

Read more: This is how big the gender pay gap in accountancy is

Meanwhile, Emma Codd, managing partner for talent at Deloitte UK, added: "We urge other businesses to join us in publishing this data to remove barriers to progress."

Last October, Deloitte signed a government-backed pledge to introduce 'name-blind' recruitment for their graduate roles.

The Big Four firm is also one of government's Social Mobility Business Compact Champions, which are endeavouring to improve young people's chances of moving up the career ladder.

Commenting on today's announcement, Nick Boles, skills minister, said: "Joining forces with leading firms, we are working to ensure that everyone has a fair chance and is judged on their merits. I want to thank Deloitte, and the government’s other Social Mobility Champions, who are providing real leadership in this important area."

Meanwhile, Sharron Gunn, commercial executive director for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, remarked: "We recognise the challenges of finding out socio-economic and educational information of employees, but it does go some way to highlight access and opportunity by going beyond obvious signs of diversity and understanding people’s backgrounds. Businesses need to measure the success of their leaders by how well they support diversity and inclusion in the workplace."