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Compass Hosts Social Mobility Summit


*Bringing together leading social mobility organisations, private and public sector businesses*

To mark the launch of “Our Social Promise”, Compass Group UK & Ireland’s social mobility strategy, the UK’s largest food service provider brought together leaders in the social mobility space. Together, they discussed what more businesses can do to break down barriers to entry and progression for employees from less advantaged backgrounds and enhance equity.

The event hosted over 100 people, from the private and public sector, along with leading trade associations, at Somerset House, in London. Keynote speakers included Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE DL, CBI President; Kate Nicholls OBE, Chief Executive, UK Hospitality; John Craven, Head of The Social Mobility Commission and Donna Catley, Chief People Officer, Compass Group UK & Ireland.

The speakers highlighted the importance of creating equal opportunities for all and the positive impact of diverse workforces. The event addressed the barriers to progression for individuals and what is required to create tangible change.

Two panel discussions explored issues such as how policy makers can work with businesses to boost social mobility, and how the private sector can offer expertise to the Government. This included representatives from Asda, The Social Mobility Foundation and the Living Wage Foundation. The second panel debate included leaders from KPMG, The Royal Navy, Rare Recruitment and Compass, providing best practice examples in diversity, equity and inclusion.

Compass’ ambitious social mobility strategy, promises to support one million people from inside and outside the business by 2030. The Mission to a Million commitment will enhance opportunities and change lives, through job creation, education, training, community and charitable engagement. It includes gender, ethnic minority and the industry’s first socioeconomic representation targets across its executive team, middle management, junior management and frontline roles, such as cleaners and chefs.

Kate Nicholls OBE, Chief Executive of UK Hospitality, said:

“Our industry is a meritocracy in action - there is nothing to stop you entering and the sky is the limit. We represent a large employment sector, that reaches every corner of the UK and it is this size and scale that means we can drive that change.

“We have a good story to tell in terms of gender representation, but as well as continuing this work, we need more focus on other areas of inclusivity and diversity such as race, social mobility and disabilities. Going forward we need to set those ambitions, measure, track and celebrate success. You can’t be what you can’t see - so we all need to create role models for others to aspire to and tell these stories.”

Donna Catley, Chief People Officer at Compass Group UK & Ireland, commented:

“Where people grew up, what their parents do for a living, gender, ethnicity, sexuality – these things play too a big a role in defining the opportunities you have and what you can do with your life. That’s just not fair. 

“It was great to see our event bring people together to drive change and collaborate on best practice. I am really excited about what we can achieve together and the positive impact we can have on people’s lives.”

Compass Group UK & Ireland has published its commitments and timeline in more detail in Our Social Promise and Social Promise Roadmap.

Photography from our Social Mobility Summit