How Soviet

This brings back memories:

The accounting and consulting firm KPMG has become the first big business in Britain to set a target for the number of working-class staff.

It is aiming for 29 per cent of its partners and directors to come from the social group by 2030. It defined working class as having parents with “routine and manual” jobs, such as plumbers, electricians, butchers and van drivers.

Folks should be drawn from the socially responsible classes……

31 thoughts on “How Soviet”

  1. Bloke in North Dorset

    So now they giving themselves the right and duty to pry in to someone’s parents. One short step to “we’re not employing her, her mother committed fraud”.

  2. And of course they don’t see how condescending they are being when they describe skilled trades as ‘routine and manual’.

  3. “And of course they don’t see how condescending they are being when they describe skilled trades as ‘routine and manual’.”

    One sees a lot of that. Electrician & plumber are both trades I’ve learned. The amount of knowledge needed for both is phenomenal. And if you’re doing modification & repair work it’s all problem solving. And a lot of these guys are coping with running a small business & possibly being an employer on top of it.

  4. Is’t it more Bourgeois than communist? But good on them to allow people of a “lesser background” into their Old Boys’ Network I guess…

    Now where were those rabid mustelids of uncertain ancestry?

  5. My wife works in mergers and acquisition and corporate finance for a large independent company in the Southwest. They are regularly taking the likes of KPMG‘s lunch, to the tune of hundreds of millions in deals, precisely because of this sort of balls; their own policy is to employ people on merit only and they treat their employees extremely well but are also very happy to shed them if they stop performing, with no fear or favour given to class, race, gender, or anything else. So overall I am tremendously in favour of this new policy and hope it spreads to the other major firms.

  6. Tradies then? Most people in these groups do not really earn that little. More than me.
    Truly lifting people out of poverty.

  7. There’s a smack there of the American habit of including skilled tradesmen in the category “laborers” – which must strike anyone non-American who has worked with both skilled men and labourers as rather odd.

    (Though, mind you, I did work with a labourer who had a semi-secret skill: he produced some lovely technical drawings for me once.)

  8. “Be like your old man, son, get a trade.” My dad said to me.
    So I followed in the family tradition and became a getaway driver.
    I can still hear him telling me how proud he was, as they slammed the door to his padded cell in Broadmoor.

  9. “It defined working class as having parents with “routine and manual” jobs, such as plumbers, electricians, butchers and van drivers.”

    I thought the “working class” was people who had to, you know… work for a living, as opposed to the “idle rich”? We’re all “working class” now (as if it mattered), except, ironically, for many of those who keep banging on about it.

  10. @Sam Duncan
    I think you do have two classes of people now. There’s the sort of people who’s jobs depend on merit & performance as judged by the market. That can be anybody from the CEO to the floor sweeper.
    And the other class isn’t. And that can be anybody from the CEO down to the floor sweeper. Contains pretty well anything in the public sector. Professions hide behind legislative capture. Bureaucratised large companies. Although with some organisations it’s possible to get a division where one strata belongs to class 2) & other stratas are liable to market forces. Although the market forces may be only within the organisation itself. The organisation itself not being subject to market forces.
    Or another way of putting it: sense of entitlement/little sense of entitlement

  11. Produces very different mindsets because it’s easy to be socially liberal about all sorts of things when you don’t believe you suffer the adverse consequences. Unfortunately the vast majority of politicians belong to class 2). So mostly you get class 2) policies.

  12. In Michael Deacon’s article in today’s Tel he reports a BBC quiz that tells their staff how “privileged” they are. Only two questions, says he, relate to social class: did your parents go to uni, and have you ever helped your parents pay their bills?

    I’m dreadfully prole it would appear. Neither went to uni (indeed my father didn’t even finish his schooling) and my brother and I paid my mother “keep” if we stayed at home during the uni long vacations. How ghastly, my deahs!

  13. “Interested

    with no fear or favour given to class, race, gender, or anything else. ”

    That is not what KPMG are doing. They are, in fact, doing the opposite of this.

  14. ohh dear i wonder what farmers are categorised as? I wonder what nurses or private soldiers are categorised as? I wonder what footballers are catergorised as- and is there a class difference between women pros and male ones.
    Who thinks johnny Sparkyson at the age of 40 isn’t going to be promoted to director or partner of an accounting firm because his dad says lavvy. I’m just trying to think of some evidence that would be convincing..I mean conceivably non manual tradespeople might be better at going through the hoops in school, uni to get selected but have worse career performance. But if that’s the case the thing to alter is the grad intake. They’d want to tweak their selection criteria recruitment progam for grads, to focus on the best candidates. But do they have such evidence? Of course bloody not.

  15. “I’m just trying to think of some evidence that would be convincing.”- something like we’ve found 10 p.c of our grad intake is from such trades, but 20% of our directors partners are from such backgrounds. Thus our selection process needs reforming to weeding out more weeds and select more prize-winning specimens.

  16. @Hallowed Be Last time I checked a “private soldier” is called a mercenary, which job is…tricky… nowadays.

    If you’re talking aboout the rank, it’s 100% of the countries who have(had) draft/mandatory service, which of course doesn’t happen anymore in Civilised Countries anymore.
    (Coat: mine’s the one with (in due time) the bird droppings on it. But.. too much headache for the modest pay rise, and the jock mess was far better than the officers’….)

  17. Do we expect howls of outrage from the left, who normally complain that it’s wrong for a person’s chances to be influenced by who their parents are?

  18. My dad retired in 1984. He was a steam engineer, basically an operator of the boilers and chillers in a steam plant. Blue collar work.

    So here we are, forty years later, and KPMG wants to offer me a job (if I applied) based on what my dad did forty years ago?

    Yup. Soviet.

  19. Grikath- i welcome your pendantage, yes i was referring to rank, and had no idea that private as a rank didn’t exist in her maj’s forces. So they’re all currently – guardsman, bombadier, trooper, rifleman etc now are they?

  20. and the thing about rank is peeps get promoted…. so say dad was a private when their aspirant bean counter was born, a major when they beany boy went to uni. What box do KPMG HR funnel him into? Yes i personally know an example of that, instantly offhand. Its not that rare. Give me a few days with all the military sprogs i used to hang with and i expect it’ll probably be more. And it’s only because the military gives rank that the job description based discrimination is so obviously bull crap. In the end they’ll have to do what the marketers do and just define it by income. And when they do that, they’re describing less the class upbringing more the competency and ability levels of the parents. Which is um a.k.a meritocracy.

  21. @dearieme

    Yeah I don’t think income is a goer in this case. Thinking about people reaching senior levels of a company, their parents might well be retired anyway so all this stuff would have to be retrospective, but to when? Would you base it off parents’ peak (inflation-adjusted) annual income? I doubt many people know that kind of info about their parents, particularly when it comes down to investment income rather than roughly what they might have made in their job. I guess what makes most sense is what the parents did when you were a kid – why should what they went on to do when you were in your thirties count as a measure of your own deprived background? (Indeed it’s not unknown for adult learners to go to uni after their own kids leave home, in the hopes of switching to a more “professional” career. Doesn’t seem logical for this to count against their kids in any way.)

    More palatable than parental income is what postcode your childhood home(s) was/were in. Correlates with social class or childhood deprivation pretty well, though may need access to some historic data sets to account for the changing bounds of gentrification. Not a perfect tool for judging whether a particular individual is working or middle or upper class, so shouldn’t be used for that purpose (not that this would necessarily stop it getting used inappropriately) but if you applied it across your staff collectively, you’d end up with a meaningful estimate of your workforce’s breakdown of social backgrounds.

  22. Yep- i see the income reporting problems as well as the manual category problems. Postcode makes more sense but then again I think its all crazy anyway.

  23. @HB

    I dunno. If there is going to be monitoring of this stuff, and that’s very much the way the world seems to be headed, not sure I’d want to discourage measures that reveal the extent of discrimination against white working-class lads in particular. There is definitely a genuine issue there – the lack of “polish”, the wrong accent, the wrong “cultural fit” or lack of certain assumed social niceties – which can be a barrier for them, and yet none of this gets flagged up by audits of sexual or racial discrimination. So without some kind of class-based audit, they end up as “double losers” – discriminated against both by the initial drivers of discrimination, then again by the race/gender-based methods that are supposed to counter discrimination.

    And fwiw some barriers identified as holding back black people in this country seem to be more classist than racist, while a lot of programmes for sexual equality seem to just result in gifting a backdoor to the top that well-connected middle-class women are most adept at manoeuvring through – when you’d think they’re the kind of person who’d do alright for themselves anyway and probably oughtn’t be the main recipient of such equitably-minded largesse. Unfortunately a lot of what holds working-class people back is deep-rooted stuff, like failures in the state education system, which it’s unreasonable to expect employers to fix or even completely compensate for. But it is possible seeing the state of their social diversity audit will prompt firms to implement eg apprenticeships, non-graduate pathways into skilled roles or management, schemes for employing ex-offenders where appropriate, a re-evaluation of their selection criteria (does it turn out that having a masters degree, or having gone to Oxbridge, or having “developed their interpersonal skills” while off on a poncy gap yah, is actually associated with better job performance once other factors you assess candidates on are accounted for? If not, quit giving those candidates bonus points and assess them based only on the stuff where you’ve got evidence it genuinely matters). If that did happen, the end result would certainly be a fairer system for working-class kids of all races/genders. And a deserved kick in the teeth for those firms who love to shout about their talented and diverse workforce, whose figleaf is a large number of middle-class university-educated Asians (visas granted if necessary) and the odd son or daughter of wealthy Nigerians, privately schooled in the Home Counties, whose photo is sprawled across their About Us page as a self-congratulatory symbol of their commitment to equity and representation. Once they’ve hired some Jamaican lads off the streets of Peckham, a Scouse school dropout from a single-parent family and an ex-care home teenage mum from Doncaster, *then* I’ll let them pat themselves on the back.

    I accept if background were used for scoring individual candidates during the application process, “affirmative action” style, that’s clearly a different discussion – though in the UK we do seem a long way from this point, and don’t seem to have the American appetite to go down that route. So long as it’s more about giving firms pause for thought about where they’re at, and what unnecessary barriers they’re putting up that might be stopping them reaching the point they’d like to see themselves as, I can get onboard with it. But finding good definitions and data will be a problem, I think particularly so for workers born abroad where British understandings of social class and deprivation don’t straightforwardly apply.

  24. BIS,

    “I think you do have two classes of people now. There’s the sort of people who’s jobs depend on merit & performance as judged by the market. That can be anybody from the CEO to the floor sweeper.
    And the other class isn’t. And that can be anybody from the CEO down to the floor sweeper. Contains pretty well anything in the public sector. Professions hide behind legislative capture. Bureaucratised large companies. Although with some organisations it’s possible to get a division where one strata belongs to class 2) & other stratas are liable to market forces. Although the market forces may be only within the organisation itself. The organisation itself not being subject to market forces.”

    And I would say there’s far more friction from type A towards type B than within the ranks of type 1s. You can talk to team leaders in factories, blokes with thick Wiltshire accents who probably left school at 16 and they like James Dyson.

    It’s something that politicians and commentariat don’t get about all those old “red wall” seats. They’re overwhelmingly type A. In places like Mansfield there are almost no type B jobs. They don’t want government spending more of their money on Type B projects in their area. They want their money left in the bank. Brexit voters were overwhelmingly Type A. The loudest angriest people I know about Brexit were right at the other end of Type B, like someone in the museums service or at the BBC. Jobs that we could cut at a stroke.

    It’s what has me tearing my hair out about the fucking Tories. They just don’t get who votes for them. They’re obsessed with being “nasty”, identity politics, eco, foreign aid. These are all Type B obsessions. Build some high speed choo-choos and you’ll make the RMT happy and they’ll still vote for Labour.

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