A 2016 Report by McKinsey on gender parity, found that women work in less productive sectors and are concentrated in lower-paid occupations, affecting their financial stability. They are least represented in high-productivity sectors—including science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)—and higher-salaried occupations, including skilled trades and managerial and leadership positions, which report the highest densities of skill shortages. Paving the way for women to occupy such roles could support productivity gains and act as one of the levers for the United Kingdom to narrow the productivity gap to its peers.

The Foundation’s flagship social mobility programme is helping to pave the way for women to occupy such roles. Our cohort of all-female students are currently being supported by our project delivery partner, the Social Mobility Foundation.  Participants are supported through their A-levels and on to University.

In our latest student update, Katie Swann from Manchester shares how participating in the programme has been a ‘game changer.’

“Coming from a low income background, I have had little confidence in my ability to get to a good university. I would be the first person in my family to apply, making me feel lost about the whole process. Not only this, but I had practically no way of getting work experience in the financial sector, the field I was hopeful to go into, before the SMF.

Joining the SMF was a game changer for me. The belief they had in my ability encouraged me to reach my full potential. The support they provided me with applying to university has undoubtedly made my application for Chemistry, a much stronger one. Not only this but they also have given me the opportunity to attend an internship at the well-known firm J.P. Morgan. This was without doubt one of my best experiences so far. This both gave me insight into banking as a career and dispelled my fears that my background would disadvantage me in achieving a role at such a renowned company. The experience also showed me that despite my reservations before the internship, women are just as able as men to succeed in the financial environment.”

Our programme seeks to provide practical support, advice and training. Katie is now applying to study chemistry at University, and completed a banking and finance residential at JP Morgan. We wish Katie our continued support, and will continue to provide updates.

If you or your firm are interested in supporting our social mobility programme, please find out more here.

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