Changing face of the City as workforce diversifies

THE CITY is far more diverse than the UK as a whole, with proportionally far more ethnic minorities and non-British workers than the general population, research released today reveals.

A report from recruitment firm Astbury Marsden finds that just seven in 10 financial services workers in the Square Mile and Canary Wharf are white, compared with nine in 10 nationwide.

The survey of 1,655 professionals also reveals a much higher proportion of non-Christian, gay or lesbian, and non-British workers.

While 70 per cent of Britons identify themselves as Christian, less than half of City workers say they are. And one in four are white and non-British, suggesting European and American workers are finding jobs in London.

Nine per cent of respondents identify themselves as Hindu, compared with 1.3 per cent of the UK population, and one in eight are of Indian origin, while nationally the figure is around one in 40.

“The City was once seen as the preserve of white Anglo-Saxon Protestant males and the old school network, but banks in the Square Mile and Canary Wharf have changed radically since then,” said Astbury Marsden’s chief operating officer, Mark Cameron. “The City is now a very meritocratic employer and that gives it a competitive advantage as it attracts applications from the very brightest graduates from across the globe,” he added.

“Employers are aware that a diverse workforce is essential to improve cultural and business insights into different markets around the world.”

The report – which covered all staff working for financial services companies in the area, not just traditional front office City jobs – says the average salary for City workers is £75,000, and that more than half work longer than 45 hours per week.

However, white British workers are still paid more than other ethnicities, and only 18.6 per cent of respondents were female. Men also earn significantly more than women, with twice as many women as men earning less than £40,000 a year.

Cameron said the increasingly diverse workforce was down to both a meritocratic attitude in City firms, and the number of internationally renowned business degrees on offer.