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"Diversity schemes are essential in banking"

Investment banks are reportedly opening diversity schemes to non-diverse applicants. This is a great shame! Diversity programs are still absolutely necessary in the banking industry.

Young white males are still being recruited in numbers at every level and are at the forefront of most of the roles we're hiring for. They are in the correct universities, they have social mobility, they have the family make-up and dynamic. They benefit from all the resources that society offers. 

Our own data shows that in the past quarter, at manager level to senior executive level, we received eight applications from white men for every application from an ethnic minority. At graduate to senior consultant level, we received five applications from white men to every ethnic minority application. We are not abnormal in this. 

While we are trying hard to diversify our talent pool, we still find that 84% of our recruits are white men or women across all levels. This is a real issue. 

Changing the situation is not easy. Not enough ethnic minority applicants are being encouraged to financial services roles outside the usual red brick universities. The next generation needs more education on career options, whether through careers fairs or workshops at universities. 

We need representation at senior levels and mentors to help create viable pathways for the next generation. Investment banking and the whole financial space has some notable minority faces hidden in areas like analytics. However, the few black investment bankers are in the main from the African diaspora where families put a strong importance on academia, and have been handpicked from the better unis. When you look at Caribbeans in banking, the numbers are tiny. They are still the smallest pools of applicants we see.

When I speak to young individuals with the acumen to do well, they seem to have been put off with loopholes and constant need to always outperform their white counterparts. Many opt for contract roles where they can earn a higher amount without any politics. 

Diversity programs are a necessity, but they don’t even come close to addressing the unbalance. 

 Shaun Thwaites is Senior Talent Acquisition Manager at Plenitude Consulting

 Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available (Telegram: @SarahButcher)

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AUTHORShaun Thwaites Insider Comment
  • Po
    Podmore
    8 March 2024

    As Elon Musk put's it so nicely, DEI needs to DIE. The solution to racism is not reverse racism. Anyway, banking and investment management is, by definition, an industry focused on pecuniary objectives, risk and return, nothing else.

  • fr
    froggy1234
    6 March 2024

    "According to the 2021 Census, the total population of England and Wales was 59.6 million, and 81.7% (48.7 million) of the population was white, a decrease from 86.0% (48.2 million) in 2011, and 18% belong to a black, Asian, mixed or other ethnic group (2021 Census data), an increase from 13.8% in 2011." -> without going into the details, based on the only number mentioned in that article "84% of our recruits are white men or women across all levels", it looks like the industry is pretty close to being representative of what the population of England and Wales looks like?

  • se
    sensical1
    6 March 2024

    If the measure of success in banking is to earn the most money, then you want the best qualified candidates irrespective of their race. To have prejudice against and discriminate against one candidate based on their race is the definition of racism.

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