Highly capable candidates who do not have a privileged background are being locked out of job opportunities in investment banking, as firms are only recruiting those from middle- and higher-income families.
According to a new report from the Social Mobility Commission, investment banks mainly hire employees from the top six or seven universities in the UK and who have undertaken work placements, which are typically given to those with connections in the sector.
The researchers from Royal Holloway University of London and the University of Birmingham found that recruiters place an emphasis on speech, clothing, behaviour and accent, as well as their skills and qualifications.
Chair of the Social Mobility Commission, the Rt Hon Alan Milburn, said: “Bright working-class kids are being systematically locked out of top jobs in investment banking because they may not attend a small handful of elite universities or understand arcane culture rules.”
He added many companies still need to learn that it “makes sound business sense to recruit people from all backgrounds”.
A Sutton Trust report in 2014 revealed that while 82 per cent of children go to a non-selective state school, 34 per cent of recently recruited investment bankers attended a fee-paying establishment.
Businesses who do not want to be seen to discriminate against employees for their background, wealth, race, religion or accent should consider equality and diversity training at Churchill Square Consulting. Here they can learn how to deal with issues of inequality in the workplace to protect their staff, as well as themselves.