Exclusive: Banks in push to hire more arts graduates

BRITAIN’S biggest banks are increasingly hiring humanities graduates at the expense of maths and economics students, City A.M. has learned.
Demand for quantitative skills exploded in the boom years, but lenders now want a wider range of staff with an aptitude in areas like critical thinking.
At Lloyds the proportion with finance degrees has fallen to 55 per cent this year, with 30 per cent of the intake with degrees in areas like English, French and politics.
At Barclays almost half of this year’s 900 recruits are expected to have a humanities background, and RBS is also pushing for a more diverse intake.
“We don’t tie ourselves to a few specific degree subjects, but instead look for candidates that display aptitude, leadership potential, interpersonal and relationship management skills,” said John Morewood from HSBC, which is also joining the trend.
The lenders are also seeking more school leavers – Lloyds is hiring 30 IT apprentices to teach them specific technology skills in-house.
Meanwhile, yesterday’s A-level results showed a second consecutive annual drop in the number of top grades – hailed by the government as a victory against grade inflation. The figures show more students are taking maths and science A-levels, although there are concerns that a gender divide is opening up: physics is increasingly dominated by boys and English by girls.