Bridge Group seminar: progression in the firm

Socio-economic background and progression in the firm: fostering inclusive and enabling professional cultures

Tuesday 9 July 2019

2-4 pm

Basinghall Suite, Guildhall, Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HH

Over recent years, large graduate employers have worked hard to increase the socio-economic diversity of new entrants and are beginning to see positive results. Whilst we need to continue our efforts in this space, and ensure rigorous monitoring to gather impact, we must give equal attention to understanding the relationship between socio-economic background and progression. To-date, the focus has been on who gets in, rather than on who gets ahead and how.

This seminar will address this uneven treatment of social diversity in the firm and ensure that employers give close scrutiny to the relationship between socio-economic background, role, and progression at every level. We’ll consider evidence of the factors contributing to differential rates of progression and retention by socio-economic background at the same time as providing practical guidance on measures to foster more inclusive and enabling organisational cultures.

We’ll share insights from our latest research and will be joined by experts on class and inequality in the context of professional employment.

Deb Conner Bridge Group Trustee and Chief Operating Officer, Social Mobility Foundation.

Nik Miller Chief Executive, Bridge Group

Dr Louise Ashley School of Management, Royal Holloway, University of London

Dr Sam Friedman Sociology, London School of Economics

Key themes

  • Challenging cultural and classist assumptions about elite performance in the professions

  • Introducing transparency relating to decisions about progression and work allocation

  • Engaging key audiences within the firm

  • Building understanding of clients’ expectations

  • Establishing meaningful and challenging diversity targets at all levels of the firm

Format of the seminar

Our expert panellists will speak for 10 minutes. They will then participate in a short chaired discussion before responding to questions from the audience. There will be opportunities to share insights and questions during the seminar, on Twitter, and in follow-up conversations and email exchanges.

A summary of the discussion and key policy recommendations will be published shortly after the seminar.

Book a place

If you have any queries about this seminar or would like to reserve a place, please contact

There is no charge to attend but places are limited. Please get in touch as soon as possible if you would like to attend the seminar.

Sarah Dauncey