It’s your postcode that counts in the City
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There is a common misconception that the City is predominantly staffed by white, upper-middle-class men. Although that may indeed have once been the case, a short walk around Canary Wharf on any weekday would show you that the City of today is truly diverse.
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 diverse workforce.
As a City recruiter, I can confirm that roles are filled by the strongest applicants and hiring decisions are based on merit. However, the fact remains that the Square Mile is surrounded by some of London's poorest boroughs which, disappointingly, remain grossly underrepresented in financial and professional services.
The issue facing the industry today is not one of race or gender but of social mobility. The link between a child's life chances and their parent's income paints a depressing picture and has barely changed in the past 30 years. And so, regardless of intelligence or ability, someone born in the wrong post code will have a much harder journey to success.
This issue has not gone unnoticed and is something that many firms are now looking to address. Last month I chaired a forum at Westminster made up of senior representatives from financial and professional services. Hosted by David Lammy, MP for Tottenham and former minister for skills and former minister of higher education, the aim was to discuss how we can increase opportunity in this area.
What is needed is a targeted and committed collaboration of the leading City firms to provide the training, mentoring and most of all, financial support, to open doors for young people, who have all the potential but none of the opportunity.
Ric Berke is a director at BRUIN Financial