‘Big Four’ accounting and consulting firm KPMG has announced a new aim to ensure that almost a third of its senior employees come from a working class background by 2030.

This makes it one of the first large UK businesses to set such a target.

The company has defined working class as having parents with “routine and manual” jobs, such as van drivers, plumbers, and electricians.

Within ten years, the company wants 29 per cent of its partners and directors to come from a working class background, compared to 23 per cent of partners and 20 per cent of directors at present.

KPMG has said that these employees were paid 8.6 per cent less than those from other socio-economic groups, with the national benchmark showing that 39 per cent of the UK workforce are working class.

Whilst the company recognises that its senior and junior colleagues were its most socio-economically diverse, their working class representation appears to be lacking among its middle management grades.

Alongside this, all of its 16,000 employees, 7,300 of whom are based in their office at Canary Wharf, will be offered training on “invisible barriers” faced by people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

This is much like the other ‘big four’ accountancy firms, PwC, Deloitte, and EY, who offer unconscious bias training to increase awareness about patterns of discrimination in the workplace.

This new pledge comes after KPMG chair Bill Michael resigned after facing backlash for disparaging comments he made about diversity on a Zoom call with staff, where he condemned the concept of unconscious bias and warned staff to “stop moaning” and “stop playing the victim card”.

He was replaced by Bina Mehta, who describes herself as from a working class background. She commented:

I’m a passionate believer that greater diversity improves business performance.

Diversity brings fresh thinking and different perspectives to decision-making, which in turn delivers better outcomes for our clients.