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Audeliss, the executive search firm specialising in diversity, today announces a new partnership with government-backed organisation, Progress Together, to help tackle socio-economic inequity within the financial sector.

This comes as research from the Bridge Group and City of London Corporation has shed light on the reality of socio-economic inequity in the UK. According to the research, 89% of senior leaders in financial services are from a higher socio-economic background, and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds have been found to progress up to 25% slower than their peers, despite no indication of a performance-related gap.

To drive change in the sector from leadership level, Audeliss’ partnership with Progress Together will help break down these class barriers, combining its expertise in levelling the playing field for diverse talent with Progress Together’s focus on moving the needle for socio-economic diversity. Social mobility intersects with all other elements of diversity: only 1% of senior leaders are ethnically diverse women who are also from working-class backgrounds. Through this partnership, Audeliss will further incorporate socio-economic diversity into its existing work.

Together, Audeliss and Progress Together will host events and webinars over the course of the partnership to encourage Audeliss’ network of business leaders to participate in discussions and learn about the issues around socio-economic status faced by UK businesses.

Suki Sandhu OBE, Founder and CEO of Audeliss, says: “As someone who grew up in a working-class household as the child of first-generation immigrants, social mobility has been a running thread throughout my entire life and career. This is part of why I’m so pleased to announce Audeliss’ partnership with Progress Together, where we will work in tandem to ensure all employees are offered equal opportunities within the financial services sector, regardless of their socio-economic background. Audeliss’ mission has always been to champion change from leadership level, working with clients to level the playing field for diverse senior level talent and create processes that are fair and transparent.

The financial services sector has historically suffered from a lack of diversity and inclusion within senior leadership, so we’re making it a mission of ours, with support from Progress Together, to forge a path for change in the industry. We hope that this partnership will shine a light on the often-neglected sphere of socio-economic inequality and bring about real and lasting change.”

Sophie Hulm, CEO of Progress Together, says: “We’re delighted to have Audeliss on board as an official supporter. By signing up, Audeliss is committing to working with clients to level the playing field at senior levels in UK financial services.

Together with our members and supporters, we are working towards building a sector in which all employees have the opportunity to thrive and progress, irrespective of where they started out in life. We’re looking forward to developing our partnership with Audeliss.”