Financial Inclusion


Nearly 2.8 million people are in work but living in poverty, and four out of every five low-paid workers fail to escape poverty after ten years in work. How can industry help to find better ways to make work pay? How can we help build financial resilience for those facing in-work poverty? How can we build a movement for change to enable this to happen?
Our programme of research and innovations aims to bring about greater financial inclusion by addressing in-work poverty. Working with employers, citizens and charities, we built a roadmap to financial resilience through affordable and easy to apply tools, products, services, information and education, made accessible through the workplace.

Through 2019 we held roundtable events and innovation labs with employers, providers of financial wellbeing products, and other experts in financial inclusion. The final report was launched on 30th January 2020 at a Financial Inclusion Summit, hosted by the City of London.

The final publication can be found here.



Our research in this area asked:

  • Who is most impacted by in-work poverty?
  • Why and how are people impacted?
  • What solutions are already out there?
  • What is the impact on organisations?

This grounding helped us to frame our interactive roundtables and innovation labs, which then focused on what employers can do better to help thier employees build financial resilience.

Film Screening – A Northern Soul

To build momentum around these issues, we hosted a film screening and panel discussion in collaboration with KPMG’s Board Leadership Centre. Panellists include the director and lead actor of A Northern Soul, and Dame Martina Milburn, Head of the Social Mobility Commission.

A Northern Soul was described by critics as ‘a personal cry for social mobility’. It is a work of radical empathy, touching on both the economic difficulties of the city of Hull, and the contradictions of regeneration through culture.

The event brought together businesses, policy-makers and academics, for a film screening and discussion.

Dinner with a Difference

What do we know about in-work poverty, and what could employers do about it?

To discuss findings from our recent research and what businesses can do about in-work poverty, Tomorrow’s Company hosted a “Dinner with a Difference”. This was designed to help attendees to explore and discuss the nature of in-work poverty, and a discussion with employers about what we could do to address the issues, working within the commercial realities of modern business.

The resources from this event are freely available for download here.

Innovation Labs

Our Innovation ‘LiveLabs’ were designed to develop testable solutions around in-work poverty. At these events we set about to explore:

  • How can employers help employees prevent, respond to and rebound from shocks?
  • What can employers do to reduce the impact of stressors on people?
  • What can employers do to help their employees build financial, social and emotional strength?

Through these major dialogue events we engage multiple voices including employers, innovators, charities and those with experience of living in poverty, to develop practical solutions, that will be piloted by employers.

A Financial Inclusion Summit

In January 2020, hosted by the City of London, we held a major summit into Financial Inclusion, presenting back our work on in-work poverty and asking employers from across the UK to get involved.

At this event, we shared the insights and learning from each stage of the programme at a summit of leaders from financial services, industry and civil society. This event brought together leaders from across the financial ecosystem to participate and innovate. We used a broad range of perspectives to develop greater understanding and honest dialogue, getting to the heart of the challenges people face when living with in-work poverty. We collectively explored new solutions and create an environment in which people can problem solve and commit to practical action.


Our thanks go to our partners, who were involved or sponsored this work.

Image credits for this page to Francesca Fitzgerald.