Summary of The Corporate Leaders Forums Hosted by The Brokerage

The Brokerage Corporate Leaders Forums

The Corporate Leaders Forums is a safe space for our corporate partners to come together to discuss issues around social mobility and how together, we can create the practical solutions to ensure you continue attracting and retaining diverse, under-represented talent.

Forum 1: Black Lives Matter: Where Change Needs to Happen

Quotes from our young people:

“It means having a conversation about what it’s like to be black in today’s society and it’s about having the uncomfortable conversations that we haven’t had before.”

The term ‘BAME’ has its place but employers can use it to avoid culpability. For example, you see anti-blackness when using‘100 BAME employees’ but noone is black.”

“What support will there be for ethnic minorities in the workplace? Are we just ‘decoration’? Is there someone to turn to when need support?”

Quotes from our corporate partners:

“We’ve used this as an opportunity to be vocal and take practical action: we want to focus throughout the recruitment cycle – how do you advertise, where do you look, how do we ensure we don’t miss out?”

“We don’t want to continue to recruit the same people, we are underrepresented and behind as a sector.”

“We want to attract diverse talent but we know there is a challenge about letting people know we are here. We need to reach out into communities.”

Ten things corporates can do to create change

Many valuable insights and suggestions came out of the Youth Forum and Corporate Leaders Form which we’ve summarised below, to build on our original ’Ten things corporates can do to create change’ article. It was really clear that corporates can, and should, be playing a role both in the community to reach young people as well as growing the culture of their organisation, and many of our corporate partners were already taking action.

For our young people In the work place

Reach out into your communities and talk to young people – show them that roles in your organisations are achievable and accessible.


Hold that mirror up, ask yourself if you are doing the right things. We can help you with our diagnostic tool to provide an impartial, external lens.


Reach out into communities and young people you may not usually reach out to. The Brokerage can help you do this with our outreach programmes, ensuring you are providing opportunities for diverse talent.


Hear from your colleagues about what it’s like in your organisation, and listen to our young people so you understand the views and insights of your future talent.


Help educate and bust the myths: tell young people what it’s like in your organisation, help get rid of their fears and tell them you won’t be assessing them on how many violin lessons they have had – you should be interested in their potential and ability NOT how many extracurricular activities they have.


Challenge your processes and look at where you recruit, how you recruit and how you promote.


Young people won’t want to be ‘included’ into a culture which is archaic and analogous. Start thinking beyond inclusivity and more about how you can grow your culture into one where all talent can flourish and everyone feels like they can belong.


Forum 2: A-level Results Day and Ways to Bring in Talent Without Looking at Grades

Quotes from our corporate partners:

There’s  lack of trust and disenfranchisement in the system and complete lack of confidence. I see students aged 18 thinking this system is against me now so how can I compete with it? And I feel a duty as an employer to try and do what we can to restore that trust and honour.”

“We’ve always looked at grades. It will take some time to get away from that to work out how do we appropriately screen people in an interview, in a cost effective and time effective way when we haven’t got a quick tick box of entry requirements and a grades perspective.

If we’re willing to invest more in our in-house recruitment functions, you would learn and find out which talent you want to be putting in the interview and who doesn’t make the grade. No pun intended.”

Practical Solutions

  • A pilot recruitment programme with The Brokerage which hires a specific number of young people, not based on grades.
  • Employers need an initial qualification process to ensure that the candidates are interested in the job role, company and sector. Initial qualifications will also help the employers manage the number of applicants and provide assurance that the individual can deal with the job demands and any qualifications associated with the job role.
  • Investing more in the in-house recruitment team can help the hiring manager and HR/recruitment team ensure that the individual meets the job requirements and is motivated to work in the role and for the company.
  • Provide more opportunities (i.e. work experience, internships) for young people to gain more experience in light of the continuing pandemic.
  • Volunteers agreed there needs to be more awareness of the situation and its longer term impact on young people and their chances of securing a job.

Katerina (CEO) final suggestions and next steps:

So what it seems to me is that, you know, we all kind of agree that we want to try and do things differently. But we also agreed that it’s complicated. Yes, it’s hard work. And, you know, a lot of you have a lot on your plate and it’s not easy to work out. And so what I would like to suggest to you then is that we at the brokerage, you know, do some of that work for you. And so what I’d like to propose is a pilot or even perhaps a series of pilots. The team are going to kill me now. But of, you know, doing things differently and recruiting young people, not looking at a grade, which we’re obviously doing now, also is just we need a few brave volunteers probably to work with us on that. So you don’t have to decide now. But you can. But if you want to, let Susheel know later on, if you’re willing to kind of work with us on a pilot whereby we recoup some of our candidates, you know, without looking at grades. And I guess the key question here, the pilot, bit as you know, what else are we going to use? And that’s where we lead and it would be great to get your help and input. And I guess it’s sort of a bit of a safe environment to test stuff with us because, you know, we obviously, as I said earlier, we have close relationships and we know our young people really well. So it could be quite a safe space to do that. So that would be my proposal to you. And obviously, we can put this out to our wider partners that haven’t been able to join the call today. But this is really what I wanted to conclude with.”

  • 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