Opening Doors 2021: The Launch of The Brokerage’s Manifesto

Nine out of ten young people from less-advantaged backgrounds are worried about the impact of the pandemic on their future career 

The Brokerage, a social mobility charity working with finance, law and professional services, calls on employers to take action now to ensure that less-advantaged young people are not permanently shut out from higher level professions, including the creation of 100 summer internship opportunities

New survey data, published today by The Brokerage reveals that 89% of young people (aged 16-25) are worried (36 % very worried, 32% worried and 23% somewhat worried) about the impact of Covid-19 on their future career prospects.

Over 200 less-advantaged young people were surveyed as part of The Brokerage’s Opening Doors 2021 – Manifesto for a Fair and Inclusive Recovery, which also outlines six key asks for employers, on the changes they can make to ensure their workplaces are inclusive. The most urgent ask is the creation of 100 paid City internships over summer 2021 for less-advantaged school leavers and undergraduates who have already been severely impacted by the cancellation of exams and other opportunities.

The survey of young people also found:

  • Half of young people (50%) have changed or expect to change their career plans because of Covid-19.
  • More than half of young people (54%) have changed or expect to change their education plans because of Covid-19.
  • Young people’s three biggest concerns as a result of the crisis are not being able to access work opportunities, a lack of work experience opportunities and not getting the qualifications they need to achieve their career ambitions.
  • When asked what the most important things employers could do to support them, young people said; provide paid internships, provide short unpaid work experience placements and provide professional mentors.

In addition to providing 100 paid internships, the five asks for employers, outlined in Opening Doors 2021 – The Brokerage’s Manifesto for a fair and inclusive recovery are:

  • Review existing recruitment practices to ensure all early career opportunities are available to all less-advantaged young people
  • Unite to provide 1,000 hours of volunteering to help young people develop their work-related skills and knowledge of the professional world
  • Collect data and map how inclusive your culture currently is and commit to tracking it with clear KPIs
  • Upskill and support line managers to recruit, manage and lead diverse groups of talent and enable them to thrive
  • Work with other employers across industries and sectors to share insights and practical solutions that drive social mobility

These asks were developed in conjunction with a number of leading City businesses who partner with The Brokerage and have committed to implementing the majority of the asks within their own organisations. This includes leading financial services firms, Brewin Dolphin, Peel Hunt, Newton Investment Management and Fitch Group, law firms Allen & Overy and Bois Schiller Flexner and insurance firms, Hiscox, CFC Underwriting and McGill & Partners and City recruiters Phaidon International.

Launching the manifesto, Katerina Rüdiger, Chief Executive Officer of The Brokerage says:

“The past year has been testing for us all but the pressure on young people, having exams and career opportunities cancelled, is stark. For too long young people from less-advantaged backgrounds have faced extra challenges when trying to access high level professional careers and those from ethnic minorities face double the challenges. We know that many of the young people we work with are talented, capable and an asset to any employer. And, that firms that embrace diverse talent often reap the rewards in terms of productivity and creativity. We cannot have a situation where once again an economic crisis deepens long term divides in society which is why we are calling on responsible businesses to open their doors now, before it’s too late and a whole generation is shut out for good. 

“In our Opening Doors 2021 manifesto The Brokerage, supported by our corporate partners, has outlined six core asks for businesses that we know work in terms of promoting inclusivity. Employers that commit to these asks will not only be helping less-disadvantaged young people but also making their businesses fairer and more inclusive as we strive towards recovering from this crisis.”

Supporting the overarching message of the manifesto, Caroline Lake, Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing at Brewin Dolphin, a corporate partner of The Brokerage says:

“At Brewin Dolphin we are striving to create a workplace that is welcoming and inclusive. We’ve worked closely with The Brokerage over the last year and we have seen how the young people they work with are talented and have the potential to add real value to any business. As we work towards recovery from the pandemic it is vital that businesses take steps to ensure that less-advantaged young people are not left behind.”

Yasmine Frimpong Manso, a young person who was placed by The Brokerage on a virtual Internship with a financial services firm in summer 2020, says:

“I was very concerned when Covid-19 hit and it became obvious that access to education and work opportunities would be impacted. I know lots of people my age who were forced to change their plans entirely and I was worried about how the pandemic would affect my future career prospects. However, via The Brokerage I was successful in gaining a place on a paid internship with a finance company in summer 2020. Although we were all working from home I was still able to gain valuable experience across different parts of the business, network and do meaningful work for them. I think it’s so important that other businesses provide these sorts of opportunities, especially now when so many of my peers face an uncertain future.”

Download a full copy of our manifesto here.

  • The team at The Brokerage have put together a very well thought out programme. They have even asked students to trial their content and have taken our thoughts into their consideration. All the modules will be really helpful to me because they target exactly what I am not sure about such as how to write a good CV and cover letter, and how to use LinkedIn most effectively. I think this has been a very beneficial opportunity to me; I can’t wait to start the programme!

    YP Elika