• Santander ranked in the Top 20 in the index for UK employers who have taken the most action to improve social mobility in the workplace

Santander has today been ranked as one of the Top 75 employers in the Social Mobility Employer Index 2019.

The top 75 UK employers who have taken the most action to improve social mobility in the workplace are announced today in what is believed to be the world’s only Social Mobility Employer Index.

The Index is the creation of the Social Mobility Foundation and ranks Britain’s employers on the actions they are taking to ensure they are open to accessing and progressing talent from all class backgrounds.

Employers are assessed on everything from the work they do with young people and their apprenticeships, through to their recruitment and selection processes and how people from lower income backgrounds progress up the ladder within their organisations.

Santander has been ranked 20th in the Index and is the highest placed retail bank to feature, for the commendable work it has taken to tackle this and enable those from lower socio-economic backgrounds to succeed. This marks the second consecutive year Santander UK has been recognised in the Index, moving up 29 places from last year where Santander ranked 49th.

Santander was specifically commended by the Social Mobility Foundation for the work undertaken in the early in careers space to enable those from lower socio-economic backgrounds to succeed, including: 

  • offering a broad range of award winning high-level apprenticeships;
  • paid-work experience opportunities, which in the index reporting period led to 30 work experience candidates securing longer term positions;
  • maintaining a good split of applications from Russell Group and non-Russell Group universities for graduate and internship schemes;
  • strong partnerships with 86 University Partners, supporting widening participation and over 2,500 paid internships into small to medium sized businesses as part of the Santander Universities part-funded internship scheme; and
  • delivering over 9,000 educational Wise workshops by colleagues across the UK, designed to help young people develop their employability skills.

Vicky Wallis, Chief HR Officer, Santander UK said: “It’s fantastic to receive this recognition, which is due in part to the work we’ve undertaken in our Early in Careers programme, which continues to recognise, that to create a thriving workplace, we need to ensure that opportunity to participate reaches a diverse group of people. We’re proud of the progress we have made in continuing to focus our efforts on understanding how we can ignite aspiration in our communities, attract and access a widening pool of talent and, support our colleagues to achieve their full potential regardless of where they started in life.”

David Johnston OBE, chief executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, said: “We are delighted to see more and more employers every year taking part in our Social Mobility Employer Index. The quality of submissions this year meant we have increased the size of our Top list from 50 to 75 and it shows the very wide range of organisations trying to make progress on social mobility. Whilst no employer would say they have cracked their social mobility challenge, all of the employers in the Top list – along with those that didn’t quite make it – should be congratulated for the efforts they’re making to ensure their organisation is open to talent from all class backgrounds.”

The Rt Hon Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility Foundation, added: "Social mobility is becoming a cause for more and more of our country's top employers. When politics is weak, society needs to be strong - so it is welcome a growing number of employers are stepping up to the plate. They recognise the need to open their doors to a wider pool of talent both to address growing public concerns about unfairness and to reap the business benefits from having more diverse workforces. The onus is now on all of our country's top employers to do the same."

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Notes to Editors

The Top 75 Social Mobility Employer Index rankings 
The Social Mobility Employer Index was developed in consultation with, and following feedback from social mobility experts and major employers. Employers entering the Index do so free of charge and voluntarily. 

  • working with young people - well-evaluated programmes that reach beyond the doorstep of the office to all of the country’s talent, and which provide routes into the employer/profession for those that have the interest and aptitude
  • routes into work - well-structured non-graduate routes that provide genuine parity of esteem and comparable progression to graduate ones
  • attraction - innovative ways of reaching beyond graduates of the usual five to ten universities many top employers focus their efforts on
  • recruitment and selection - evidence that the employer removes hurdles that will disproportionately affect those from lower socio-economic groups and is moving to a system that judges potential rather than past academic performance or polish
  • data collection - rigorous analysis of the profile of the workforce and of measures taken to improve its diversity
  • progression, culture and experienced hires - effective strategies that help those from lower socio-economic groups get on rather than just get in
  • internal/external advocacy - action to get more of their staff involved in efforts to improve social mobility and to get suppliers/peer firms to also take action

Employers are also able to participate in a voluntary employee survey, which included 8 questions about the culture of their workplace. 40 employers participated in this and we received over 14,000 responses. The submissions were marked using a strict mark scheme and the list of scores was then benchmarked both within the same sector and across different employment sectors. In targeting sectors that have sometimes been identified as needing to improve their socio-economic diversity, the Index recognises that process often has to be introduced before progress can be made and does not punish employers for starting from a low base, but rather rewards them for taking significant action to improve this. The top 75 are thus those taking the most action on social mobility and not the 75 that are already the most representative of the country at large.

Employers had the option to enter anonymously to receive feedback on their strategies; if they finished in the top 75 they then had the choice of whether to remain anonymous. Two employers did so and this meant those underneath them moved up the published ranking.

Both the development of the Index and the benchmarking is supported by an advisory group whose membership has representatives from the Association of Graduate Recruiters, the Bridge Group, Royal Holloway University, and Stonewall.

For further information about the Index, please visit:

The Social Mobility Foundation 
The Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) is a charity which aims to make practical improvement in social mobility for young people from low-income backgrounds. It runs free of charge programmes of mentoring, internships, university application support (including trips to universities and help with personal statements, aptitude tests and interviews) and career and skills workshops to support young people through their sixth-form and university years.

Currently taking on a new cohort of over 1700 young people every year, the SMF has offices in Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Newcastle and runs residential programmes for young people from the Isle of Wight to the Western Isles of Scotland across 11 career sectors (Accountancy, Architecture, Banking & Finance, Biology & Chemistry, Business, Engineering & Physics, Law, Media & Communications, Medicine, Politics, and Technology).

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its innovative products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. At 30 June 2019, the bank has around 24,000 employees. It serves around 15 million active customers, via a nationwide branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking; and 62 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers’ eligible deposits are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful presence in 10 core markets in Europe and the Americas and is the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization. At the end of June 2019, Banco Santander had EUR 1.03 trillion in customer funds (deposits and mutual funds), 142 million customers, 13,000 branches and 200,000 employees. Banco Santander made underlying profit of EUR 4,045 million in the first half of 2019, an increase of 2% in constant euros compared to the same period last year.

Media Contact
Leonora Burtenshaw at Santander 
Email: leonora.burtenshaw@santander.co.uk      Tel: 0207 756 5533

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