Only 21% of senior leaders in City come from working class families, report finds

updated on 06 December 2022

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The Law Society is in support of a five-point pathway of tangible steps to boost social mobility and break the City’s ‘class ceiling’ following a report from the City’s Socio-Economic Diversity Taskforce. The solicitors’ body voiced its support of the taskforce's aim to ensure individuals who come from non-professional backgrounds make up 50% of senior leaders in the financial and professional services sector.  

Currently, two-thirds of senior leaders in the UK’s top accounting firms, law firms, and financial services companies come from families with professional backgrounds, despite figures from the Socio-Economic Diversity Taskforce revealing they make up only 37% of the UK population. 

By contrast, 39% of UK citizens come from families in which their highest earning parent worked in manual labour, however these individuals make up just 21% of senior leaders in the financial and professional services sector.  

A recent report from the City’s Socio-Economic Diversity Taskforce outlined a five-point plan to boost social mobility in the UK’s financial hub which has received a great level of support by the Law Society.  

The report states that City firms must begin to set targets, collect data and publish their findings with the aim of reaching the 50% target by the next decade fuelling these initiatives. It’s also been suggested that senior leaders should be assigned specific responsibilities relating to socio-economic diversity and take initiative to boost socio-economic diversity at senior levels.  

Law Society president Lubna Shuja said: “Where you start in life should not determine where you end up.” Shuja warned that “the picture of socio-economic diversity in the profession shows there is much more to do”.   

This report comes after former Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce voiced concerns that the UK’s lack of social mobility in its legal and professional services was threatening the country’s economic growth.