It is fair to say that the City is often viewed as a place out of reach for many, with glass presenting a literal as well as metaphorical barrier. We want to change that and have made slow but steady progress over recent years.
Most importantly, we have committed to ensuring that all those who already work for us directly or indirectly are well-paid for their efforts. We are proud to pay the Living Wage and also to be active supporters of the Living Wage Foundation, working hard to persuade others of the business and social benefits of this commitment.
We have seen greater retention, satisfaction and flexibility from a group of people who are often the first point of contact for clients when entering the building; first impressions count and these individuals present an excellent picture of the firm. On top of this, we support the London Capital Credit Union, which is dedicated to promoting saving and dealing with debt, with both funding and occasional internal marketing to attract investors and borrowers.
For the past couple of years we have also offered direct apprenticeships in a number of parts of the business. These are on top of those offered through our suppliers and include roles in marketing, HR, finance and operations. They are real jobs and we have been delighted by the quality, attitude and dedication of these local young people.
Over half have moved into permanent roles and we’ve found their presence to be a huge boost to their colleagues who really do want to help others early in their careers.
Again, we’ve been promoting this amongst suppliers, clients and sectors and would urge every business to look hard for roles where apprentices can pick up the challenge. We are now looking at non-graduate routes into law which, though at an early stage, is something we are sure will follow a similarly successful path.
Responsible businesses must first respect their people and the Living Wage and apprenticeships are two ways in which we do that. It may be hard work but it is not impossible and the payback is immense – are you ready to do your bit?