KPMG has vowed to ensure that a third of its senior employees come from working class backgrounds, making it the first large British business to set such a target.
The accounting behemoth is aiming for 29pc of its partners and directors to come from the demographic by 2030.
KPMG defined working class as anyone with parents who held “routine and manual” jobs, such as plumbers, electricians, butchers and van drivers.
The company will also provide training to all 16,000 of its employees on “invisible barriers” faced by people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
The pledge, reported by the Times, comes after KPMG chair Bill Michael resigned in the wake of a backlash over disparaging comments he made about diversity issues on a Zoom call with staff earlier this year.
Mr Michael railed against the concept of unconscious bias while warning staff to “stop moaning” and “stop playing the victim card”.
He was replaced by Bina Mehta, who identifies as coming from a working class background.
KPMG said 23pc of its 582 partners and a fifth of its 1,297 directors were from working class backgrounds.
It added that employees from those backgrounds were typically paid 8.6pc less than those whose parents worked in “higher managerial, administrative and professional” roles.
“I’m a passionate believer that greater diversity improves business performance,” Mehta said. “Diversity brings fresh thinking and different perspectives to decision-making, which in turn delivers better outcomes for our clients.”