There are increasingly more barriers to upward mobility for talent that we aim to overcome

We initially launched The One and All Foundation in 2008, on the day that Lehman Brother’s fell and as a result, the issue of supporting greater diversity was almost secondary to facing the financial crisis and austerity. However, we do believe that this is now the right time to reboot the charity and our aim is to ensure that all talent is supported regardless of their background, origin or disability.

By Chris Sheppardson, Managing Director, EP

Talent is talent and our aim is to allow it to have a voice and thrive.

One of the great concerns over Brexit is the potential fall in talent pools. There is little doubt that this is going to be problematic, but we do need to ask the question as to whether we are doing enough to free talent up? Many are still asking why there is a lack of young leaders breaking through in the corporate world. Are we really making the most of all the talents available? Are we really engaging the human asset and seeking to inspire greater standards?

However, it can be easily argued that today there are more barriers than ever to upward mobility. There were many social issues in the 1980s but one of the successes of this era was that people did feel that they could strive for better lives and that hard work would lead to greater prosperity. One can easily reel off the number of films that showed a person rise swiftly from the bottom to the top and this was reflected in real life with a number of leading CEOs coming to the fore across many professions that had worked their way up with no degree but instinct, skill and hard work. This would be far less likely today.

At the same time, in the 1980s, there was a greater level of investment by companies into their people through L&D, through pensions, through overall benefits. Everything today has been cut back and research has shown a declining level of trust in companies.

It is sad to say but there is far less trust in companies for the simple reason that they do not trust in their leadership teams. Forbes Magazine last year noted that 63% of employees today do not trust in their leadership. In the UK, this level has bene noted to be even higher, touching 75%. The great companies of the 1980s stood tall in trust and loyalty and would be ahead of many today.

How did companies lose such trust in a twenty to thirty-year period? Companies have shown less social consciousness and have invested less back into their people. It is a relatively simple equation.

The argument is that business today is a battle over tight margins and a more competitive market – that they do not possess the same liberties themselves to support young talent. It is true, it is a brutal market but the desire of the emerging generations is for a greater social consciousness and this may well create change.

There was also an argument that came to the fore back in the 00s that the average lifespan of a CEO of a FTSE company averaged between 28-36 months and therefore the only focus was on results and the people factor was a luxury. As a result, investment into L&D has fallen in relative terms by 50% over the last twenty years.

We will argue for balance, for the importance of diverse teams and we will work to help talent be able to progress and overcome the barriers that have been created.

Companies do need to find a better balance once again. It cannot be right when there is such a lack of trust in leadership teams. There is a need to learn from the past for investment in the human asset did build pride, loyalty and more importantly great businesses. Too many decisions are not about the short term impact but, with all the issues that we face today, we do need bigger thinking and a greater social belief once again in freeing up all.

We will argue for balance, for the importance of diverse teams and we will work to help talent be able to progress and overcome the barriers that have been created. We have a range of industry experts that are working with us as well as many from the world of sport that want to help nurture young talent. In all, we have over 70 leading professionals that want to support younger talent. This gives us a platform which can support those with ability grow and develop.

There is great talent around, it just needs developing.