Globalisation has changed the working landscape, and the City is no different. London is one of the world’s leading financial centres, staffed by top talent from across the globe, creating a truly diverse workforce. As a City recruiter, I can confirm that roles are filled by the strongest applicants and hiring decisions are based solely on merit. However, the fact remains that the Square Mile is surrounded by some of London’s poorest boroughs which, disappointingly, remain grossly under represented in financial and professional services. The key reason is that parts of our education system aren’t producing a suitable quality of applicant, with the knowledge and aptitude needed to break into what is a hugely competitive industry. Unless this is tackled at source, there will be sectors of society that will never achieve proportional representation in the City.
Ric Berke is director at Bruin Financial.
The City is rightly hailed as the world’s best across a swathe of industries – finance, law, insurance, consulting. I am intensely supportive of the City’s elitism, but that support stops when the elite become elitist. When recruitment depends more on who you know than on what you know, the chances of the City ever looking like London are thin. In too many City firms, people from Tottenham might clean the desks by night, but they will never occupy the desks by day. That isn’t good enough. I salute the noble ambitions of many to open up the City to people and postcodes which have never before joined our global financial elite. Yet, too often, these efforts are too sporadic and piecemeal for the answer to the above question to be anything other than – no time soon.
David Lammy is Labour MP for Tottenham.
Bruin Financial, a specialist financial services recruitment firm, in collaboration with David Lammy MP, is hosting a forum in Westminster on 27 June to discuss the question of diversity in the City.