Tuesday 14 January 2020 12:01 am

City’s top talent turns its back on financial services in favour of tech

The financial services sector is failing to attract graduate talent amid concerns that the City is “too conservative.”

Traditional City institutions are losing out to advertising agencies and technology firms as a new generation of recruits prioritises flexible working and a better work-life balance, according to a new report.

Global brand specialist Siegel+Gale surveyed 1,275 20-25 year olds who were either in higher education or graduates. Respondents said they were turning their back on financial services because of a perception that the sector is “only interested in making money.”

Ben Osborne, Head of Insights EMEA at Siegel+Gale, suggested that people realising there are more important things than money was a hangover from the financial crash. As such there is a growing premium being put on finding ‘meaning’ in work, which graduates did not identify in financial services.


Just 13 per cent of respondents considered a career in the City, with technology, management consultancy and advertising/marketing all considered more desirable.

Osborne said, “The first thing financial institutions should ask themselves is, does the top talent know you exist?” Outside of retail banking, respondents showed little awareness of investment management, accounting or financial advisory firms.

The report also highlighted diversity as a key issue for the sector. Only a third of respondents had a comprehensive understanding of the sector, with clarity significantly higher for males from privileged backgrounds compared to working-class females.

It also found a large self-selection bias for those who have an immediate family member working within financial services.

Osborne said, “While [diversity] may be a factor in the decision-making process for prospective employees, I believe it to be a decisive factor when attracting the top talent.”

Main image credit: Getty images

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