Most of us cannot move for diversity, equity and inclusion strategies in our workplaces, but one thing is often missing: class. When you come from an economically disadvantaged background colleagues often can’t tell, yet the workplace can feel like a hostile environment. How can managers and companies help their colleagues and employees to thrive and advance, especially when many people may not want to be open about their backgrounds at work?

This episode of Working It starts with Sophie, a young entrant to the TV industry, a sector once rife with nepotism and unpaid internships. She got her break via Creative Access, a UK non-profit that supports young people into internships and jobs in the creative industries. Host Isabel Berwick also hears from Annette King, who started out as a "working-class girl from Swindon" and is now UK chief executive of advertising group Publicis. What does her experience tell us?

Finally, Isabel talks to Naomi Rovnick, FT markets reporter, about her route into journalism from a non-traditional background, why "masking" socio-economic background is so common as a way to fit in with what Naomi calls "skiing and wine" chat, and why collecting better data will help us break the class ceiling. 

Want more? 

Lex assesses class diversity among UK professions, including efforts by the BBC to change things

https://www-ft-com.ezproxy.cul.columbia.edu/content/8ceff340-f679-49e4-a781-d7a1e4357aea

The FT's Emma Jacobs explores efforts to boost class diversity in acting 

https://www-ft-com.ezproxy.cul.columbia.edu/content/bd4736aa-6d6d-11e8-852d-d8b934ff5ffa

FT columnist Simon Kuper on how Oxford university shaped the UK’s ruling elite 

https://www-ft-com.ezproxy.cul.columbia.edu/content/2fa1e436-a5c7-43b1-9e5a-b1e1b43b8c3a

Useful employer toolkit on socio-economic diversity and inclusion, from the UK Social Mobility Commission 

https://socialmobilityworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/SMC-Employers-Toolkit_WEB_updated_July2021.pdf

Advisory firm KPMG is publishing socio-economic pay gap data for its staff, based on parental occupation 

https://home.kpmg/uk/en/home/media/press-releases/2021/09/kpmg-publishes-firmwide-socio-economic-background-pay-gaps.html

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We love to hear from you. What do you like (or not)? What topics should we tackle? Email the team at workingit@ft.com or Isabel directly at isabel.berwick@ft.com. Follow @isabelberwick on Twitter 

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