UK Social Mobility Awards 2019 Winners Announced

The UK’s only awards dedicated to recognising the achievements of organisations and individuals in promoting social mobility celebrated their third year with a fantastic gala at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square.

The winning entries of the third iteration of the UK Social Mobility Awards, in association with Capita, were announced at a dazzling awards ceremony last night. The Awards celebrated the organisations embedding social mobility as a core business strategy, both within their own workforces and by influencing the debate from beyond their own walls.

By celebrating those committed to doing things differently and raising awareness of best practice, these awards aim to advance the practical implementation of social mobility in this country and create a movement of institutions committed to making change happen.

The night began with a drinks reception and three-course meal, providing an opportunity for attendees to network and cement relationships brought about by a commitment to equality. The gala evening was hosted by TV and Radio presenter Andrew Castle, and guests were entertained by the Chineke! Orchestra, before the winners were announced and presented with their awards.

The Awards, which are sponsored by the RAF and Antin Infrastructure Partners, received an impressive array of entries from across the UK and from a range of sectors and industries that have demonstrated excellence in their social mobility initiatives. Entries were judged by a prestigious judging panel, made up of leading figures in business, charity, politics and the public sector.

Chris May, Strategic Team Leader at Milkround, noted:

“It was great to be a part of an event that supports the movement towards a more inclusive and diverse workforce. It was such an privilege to hear the amazing things companies are doing to increase Social Mobility within the workplace. All of the winners were very well deserved, especially to Kier Group whose achievements are truly outstanding!”

Sir Kenneth Olisa OBE, Chair of the Judging Panel for the awards, commented:

“The SOMOs shine a light on the successful organisations who have discovered the benefits of finding, recruiting, growing and promoting talented team members regardless of their upbringing. In this way, the SOMOs are proving how social mobility delivers through competitive advantage to a wide range of organisations across the spectrum.”

Tunde Banjoko OBE, Founder of The UK Social Mobility Awards, added:

“This year’s entries reveal that there is much good work going on, but there is still much more to do, both from those who are already on this journey and from those who have not yet got on board. It will take enormous and consistent effort to turn the tide on social mobility, and the UK Social Mobility Awards will continue to be there to advocate for, and champion, this noble movement.”


Winners – Organisations 

Organisation of The Year
Winners: Ministry of Justice
Highly Commended: KPMG

Innovation of the Year – sponsored by Milkround
Winner: Kier Group

Leadership of The Year – sponsored by Police Now
Winner: DWP

Recruitment Programme of The Year – sponsored by Hedley May
Winner: Greene King

Progression Programme of The Year
Winner: HMRC

Community Programme of The Year – sponsored by PwC
Winner: Nissan
Highly Commended: HMRC

University of the Year – sponsored by Pentland Brands
Winner: Nottingham Trent University

School/College of the Year – sponsored by BNP Paribas
Winner: Southmoor Academy


Winners – Individuals

Outstanding Contribution to Social Mobility
Winner: Justine Greening MP

Champion of The Year – sponsored by Lidl
Winner: Professor Pamela Gillies, Glasgow Caledonian University

Mentor of The Year
Winner: Franklin Asante, Coutts

Rising Star – sponsored by Foxtons
Winner: Milambo Makani, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Widening Access Network


Join the discussion:


Twitter: @UKSMAwards – #SOMOs19

Facebook: @UKSMA

Instagram: @uk_social_mobility_awards

Female graduates’ low expectations contribute to early gender pay gap

New research by Milkround has revealed that over a third of female graduates expect a starting salary of £20,000, falling £10,000 short of the median UK graduate wage of £30,000 per year.

This, coupled with The Department of Education’s Longitudinal Education Outcomes findings, shows that the gender gap exists from the beginning of graduate careers, and even increases over time. In fact, five years into their careers, women earn on average £6,500 less than their male counterparts.*

We believe it is pivotal that graduate employers are dedicated to doing their utmost to tackle this.

Milkround’s Head of Marketing, Francesca Parkinson, highlights that: “Nearly 85 per cent of female graduates do not know their own value, which may have a knock-on effect in their future earnings. As the UK’s largest graduate advice website, we feel a responsibility to empower women in the workplace, helping them to realise their worth and build career confidence”.

As graduate employers, there is much you can do to ensure female graduates know their own value and possess the confidence to articulate this. By seeing that their employers accurately recognise their value and actively  work to erase the gender pay gap, graduates will feel confident that they will receive the salaries they deserve.

Raising awareness of the gender pay gap and its implications as a matter of social responsibility is, of course, a priority. However, only through conscious action that aligns with values of equality can we implement change.

The application process

As a graduate employer, you will know that many job openings will offer ‘competitive’ salaries. You may offer them yourself. Most graduates will embark on their own research as to what range ‘competitive’  consists of for a specific role or sector, but will sometimes set their salary expectations a little lower than the average in a bid to make themselves appear more desirable.

As highlighted by Milkround’s research, this is incredibly detrimental to women, who already face issues of inequality in the workplace.  By being clearer about what sort of salary you will be able to offer, you ensure graduates have realistic expectations and are not undercutting themselves from the beginning when it comes to salary expectations.

Be open to salary negotiations

As you would expect, it is unlikely a new graduate will have negotiated salary previously. It is important to remember this if a graduate with a job offer does not navigate the conversation in quite the same way you may be used to. Of course, this does not mean that it is acceptable for them to raise the point without politeness, accurate research, and proof of their exceptional skills. Simply put, female graduates should feel they can confidently talk about salary.

As an employer, it is key to establish a good relationship and appear approachable to your potential employee so that they can feel confident raising questions not only about the role itself, but about their salary expectations. Often, graduates will give a range for their salary expectations (for example, “somewhere between £23,000 and £25,000”) because they might assume by specifying only one figure, an employer will consider them too demanding. This fear of asking “too much too soon” contributes to the continued existence of the pay gap, and is commonly attributed to women more than men.

Be constructive and offer feedback and recognition

If a recent graduate asks for a raise following an acceptable period of time in your employment, or their salary expectations are higher than you anticipated prior to accepting a job offer, acknowledge that you understand the points they have voiced. Hearing that a raise is not possible will be disheartening, but if employers make it clear that an employee’s request has been thoroughly considered, the response  should be accepted and taken onboard. If you can, use data to reiterate your pay package is on par with the average.

Milkround continually see highly qualified and enthusiastic candidates; our recent Society Awards was host to a number of female students with incredible talent. As a result, it is alarming that young women not only have the glass ceiling to contend with, but also a ‘lead floor’. Without active employer influence, female graduates will remain wedged between the two.

We must continue to raise graduate confidence so they understand their own value and can articulate this. Far from feeling entitled, graduates need to know that even at entry level, they will be respected and listened to during salary negotiations. Maintaining self-worth, especially in female graduates, ultimately forms a self-aware workforce where individuals know their own value. Graduate employees should be able to trust that this is recognised by their employers, who are not only aware of the existence of the gender pay gap, but actively counteract it throughout the recruitment process.

If you’d like to learn more about our research into graduate salary expectations and the gender gap and the graduate market generally, download our whitepaper.

To speak to us about job postings or creating a tailor-made campaign, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 0333 0145 111, or drop us an email at We pride ourselves on our graduate knowledge, because it comes directly from our audience!


A best practice guide to writing job descriptions

The do’s and don’ts of job descriptions

When it comes to writing job descriptions, it is vital that the whole scope of what the role entails is covered and communicated in a light that will attract the top talent from the graduate pool.

At Milkround we like to share our insights with you to ensure you can achieve this candidate attraction. So, after a little analysis we’ve put together this guide to tell you what works best and what should be avoided at all costs.

Let’s start with the do’s…

Formatting is key

Applying a user-friendly format is the simplest way to make your content more readable and appealing to candidates.

No one is going to digest key points from a dense paragraph that eats up their entire screen or suddenly want to apply for a role because the title is written in capital letters.

If we think of the way in which we digest information most effectively, this is in bite size amounts displaying key but direct information.

This is easily achieved through making each heading in the job description bold, evenly spacing out paragraphs and using bullet points to list information.

We suggest you use the following sub-headings for the following reasons…

  • Job role
    • State what the purpose of the role is
  • Responsibilities
    • Tell the candidate what will be expected of them in the role
  • Entry requirements
    • The minimum expected criteria will inform the candidate from the get-go whether they are suitable enough to apply
  • Salary and benefits
    • Outline your offering to the candidate to give them more reason to apply
  • How to apply
    • Make this section as clear and concise as possible, encouraging candidates to follow one set procedure and make use of the ‘Apply’ button to ensure consistency across all your applications.
      • For email applications and when using our response management system, tell candidates to submit their CV and Covering Letter via the ‘Apply’ button.
      • For external redirects, tell candidates to visit your website via the ‘Apply’ button to submit their application.
      • For offline applications, tell candidates to click ‘Apply’ to find out direct contact details.

Be up-to-date not out of date

Too many times have old job descriptions been recycled and re-posted.

Whilst this can often be harmless it also runs the risk of displaying start dates and application deadlines that have expired.

Accuracy is essential for achieving optimum conversion rates across all job adverts.

After all, the candidates at the minimum need to know whether they can make themselves available to you in line with your start date before they hit apply.

And now for the don’ts…

Don’t include links – let the stats do the talking

Although your job description should be informative, it should not include any links or email addresses to your own company domain.

This is simply because if users are diverted to your own website whilst reading the job-description, they’re unlikely to use our built-in application form, thus making us unable to track the application performance of your job listing.

And we’re guessing you’d like to see the overall return on the investment made? So let our campaign reports provide just that.

Boot the location out the job title

Why? Locations are a mandatory requirement for all job listings, and consequently candidates are able to filter their job search by location on site.  Therefore, there is no need for duplication.

Our reports have shown that including a location in the job title makes the user less likely to click on the listing. Just like an email subject, a job title only needs to give a direct taster of what’s inside to encourage that initial click.

As a result, we think it’s preferable to omit the location from the title to allow the user to click through to the advert and read the full listing

Want more advice?

Our support team have a wealth of experience in advert editing and will be happy to advise. Advertise your jobs today by calling 020 3003 4000.

PwC ends A-level criteria for graduate jobs, report by the BBC

Accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers is to stop using A-levels grades as a way of selecting graduate recruits.

PwC, one of the UK’s largest graduate employers, said using the grades to filter candidates could disadvantage those from poorer backgrounds.

The company said the policy could “drive radical changes” in social mobility and diversity.

Until now, the firm has not considered any applicants who failed to reach a defined threshold of A-level grades.

‘Untapped talent’

But PwC said it would no longer consider a potential recruit’s UCAS score – the score that tallies their A-level grades and is used in university applications – because some able candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds were losing out.

Richard Irwin, PwC’s head of student recruitment, said: “We want to target bright, talented people and extend our career opportunities to untapped talent in wider pockets of society.

“Our experience shows that whilst A-level assessment can indicate potential, for far too many students there are other factors that influence results.

“Competition and assessment for our graduate roles will be as tough as ever – but those that want to get on with a career in business can do so.”

PwC receives 17 applications for every graduate role it advertises and has been rated the top graduate employer by the Sunday Times for the past 12 years.

Read more about this story on the BBC’s website here

Graduates saying ‘no thanks’ to job offers

The Metro reported this morning (Tuesday, 27th January 2014) that one in seven graduate job offers were rejected last year, meaning the UK had the most unfilled graduate positions since 2008. This seems hard to believe with each graduate job having around 75 applications- the competition is clearly still tough.

This statistic seems to highlight the skills gap in graduates, and how those who do have these skills are in high demand. What can universities be doing to close this gap? What can students be doing to improve their employability?

Securing an internship is one way students can increase the chances of being hired after university. Companies give a quarter of their graduate roles to candidates who have previously worked for them, most typically as an intern.

Last year, Milkround conducted a Career Service Roadshow, which saw our Engagement Marketing Executive, Chantelle, travel around the country visiting universities and explaining trends in student employability and commercial awareness. This is just one of the things we have been doing to help tackle this problem in graduate skill gaps- watch this space!