Press Release

Balfour Beatty Group Chief Executive Leo Quinn urges Government to address lack of social mobility in the UK

14 September 2018


The 5% Club, an employer-led initiative focused on creating momentum behind the recruitment of apprentices and graduates into the workforce, recently issued its latest report: “Playing to our strengths: Unlocking social mobility for economic good”.

Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds must be made aware of the many technical and vocational training opportunities available. At present, because of a lack of awareness, businesses are missing out on some of the brightest and best talent, stifling the country’s economic growth but also letting down young people who are most in need of support and opportunity.

In its report, The 5% Club sets out a series of recommendations for business leaders and government to drive social mobility, whilst also ensuring inclusive growth. 

Leo Quinn, Group Chief Executive of Balfour Beatty and Chairman and Founder of The 5% Club, explains: “Business leaders and government urgently need to join forces to address the lack of social mobility in the UK today. Central to this is raising awareness amongst young people from less advantaged backgrounds about going down the route of ‘earn and learn’ to start building long-term careers while being paid. Many of our key industries are crying out for skilled workers to train on the job - so it’s a tragedy if we fail to reach those who desperately need this chance.

“As employers we must ensure that traditional recruitment methods are not inherently discriminatory. We must open up early work experience or internships to all - the first vital step into the world of work. Equally, positive careers advice in schools can tear down the perception that apprenticeships are ‘second best.’ And we must all press government to transform the apprenticeship levy into a broader skills levy.

“If we really want to unlock social mobility, we must work together to open the gates on a flood of untapped talent, helping society as a whole but also dramatically improving Britain’s economic prospects.”

To read the full report, click here.


Media enquiries to:
Vivienne Dunn
Balfour Beatty
+44 (0)207 963 2150 | follow us @balfourbeatty

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Notes to editors:

  • Balfour Beatty ( is a leading international infrastructure group. With 28,000 employees, we provide innovative and efficient infrastructure that underpins our daily lives, supports communities and enables economic growth. We finance, develop, build and maintain complex infrastructure such as transportation, power and utility systems, social and commercial buildings.
  • Our main geographies are the UK & Ireland, US and Far East. Over the last 100 years we have created iconic buildings and infrastructure all over the world including the London Olympics’ Aquatic Centre, Hong Kong’s first Zero Carbon building, the National Museum of the Marine Corps in the US and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
  • Balfour Beatty is a member of ‘The 5% Club’, a UK employer-led initiative focused on creating momentum behind the recruitment of apprentices and graduates into the workforce. Chief Executive Leo Quinn was the founding member of the 5% Club. The Company is committed to ensuring that, within five years of joining, at least 5% of its workforce consists of Apprentices, Graduates and Sponsored Students.

Vivienne Dunn

Senior Media & PR Manager