BDO to recruit almost 300 employees in social mobility drive

28 September 2017 4 min. read
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BDO will add 285 people across its UK ranks by the end of the year, drawing from graduate and school leaver groups. The firm is seeking to up intake levels from less prestigious backgrounds – in light of figures that show that privately educated elites  tend to receive a disproportionate success at entry into professional services firms.

BDO, which currently employs around 3,500 staff across the UK, has announced the addition of 285 people to its organisation. The new arrivals largely join the firm’s graduate programme, although the number of direct, out of school recruits has improved, climbing to 74. So far, 201 additions have been completed, with a further intake of 84 planned for November.

Applicant numbers increased by 50% on last year’s 6,000 to reach 9,000 in total, in part due to the firm' new recruitment strategy focused on increasing the number of millennials from a broad social background to be hired. Consulting firms are presently gaining a reputation as being among the UK’s top employers for social mobility, with companies making sustained efforts to entice talent from all walks of life to the consulting industry. This comes following the professional services sector being publicly scalded by the UK’s social mobility watchdog for the “systematically excluding people with working class backgrounds from top jobs with a ‘poshness test’.”

BDO recruits almost 300 employee

According to research from the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, the UK’s elite accounting, legal and financial services firms are presently dominated by a disproportional number of alumni from the country’s most selective schools. Such individuals currently occupy as many as 70% of all positions, despite representing a mere 7% of total school leavers in the country. Despite shifting attitudes in professional services and consulting firms, as well as across society generally, a recent Oxera study also found that social mobility improvements have been relatively slow, with a class divide remaining across UK business and political life. Social mobility improvements could, if implemented to their fullest, deliver an extra £170 billion to the UK economy, suggesting that there is a significant economic incentive for businesses to invest in tackling the issue in the future.

In addition to broadening recruitment to include a wider talent pool, BDO also recently hosted 40 interns. This was accompanied by hosting 44 candidates in its select summer school programme, which focused on providing work experience, aimed at assisting students from less fortunate background to make career related decisions.

Speaking on the firm’s increasingly diverse profile, Paul Eagland, managing partner at BDO commented, “I am proud and privileged to be welcoming so many talented individuals through our doors. At BDO we encourage our people to shape their careers according to their strengths, skills and personality – rather than their education and experience – so it’s encouraging to see refreshing our approach to recruitment has helped us attract more people from different walks of life.”

He further added, “It’s not just diversity in the backgrounds of our new recruits that’s important, but the skills they bring to BDO. As the profession evolves with technology and the demands of modern society, it’s the commercial and personal skills of our new trainees that will help us stay ahead of the competition and create business advisers fit for the future.”

Social mobility drive

Several consulting firms have meanwhile made headlines with their apprenticeship programmes, which were aimed partially at inducting employees from beyond society’s elite into the industry. While Mazars have hosted a similar programme to BDO, Big Four consultancy KPMG upped its apprentice intake by 40% for the coming year, increasing their intake to 181 from 127 the previous year. Meanwhile, rival firm EY were commended for their own apprenticeship drive, obtaining “employer provider status” following the group’s announcement of 200 new placements for this September, on starting salaries of £21,500 per annum. Such efforts make it easier for talent without higher educational qualifications to bring their skills to the consulting world.