BRUIN recently held a forum for senior HR and Diversity professionals at London’s Crowne Plaza. The topic under discussion was ‘The Importance of Social Mobility in Financial Services’ and we were delighted to welcome attendees from the City’s leading firms.
The forum was chaired by Rt Hon David Lammy MP and David Johnston, Chief Executive of the Social Mobility Foundation and member of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, and offered an insight into strategies for promoting social-economic diversity and an open forum discussion.
MP for Tottenham David Lammy said at the event that businesses must take more demonstrable action to promote social mobility because currently, opportunities only occur through luck. Social mobility initiatives should involve “helping young people understand culture, reaching deep to get those who are up to it and hopefully, as a consequence, diversifying our businesses and organisations”.
He told of his own experience when, as a 16-year-old aspiring City lawyer, his careers guidance teacher told him he should be a fireman. Luckily, his older brother happened to be going out with a girl who had a lawyer friend. Through that friend of a friend, he gained work experience that set him on course to studying at Harvard Law School in the US and eventually becoming an MP.
Sixth form Dartford Grammar School student Jeffrey Thomas also spoke at the event of his desire to work in financial services, but how he found it difficult to gain work experience as he had no contacts.
Through the City Talent Initiative, which was launched by BRUIN after a challenge from Lammy, Thomas gained work experience at JP Morgan and now has an offer to study at the London School of Economics. The City Talent Initiative helps high-achieving young people from low-income backgrounds access opportunities in the finance sector and is managed by the Social Mobility Foundation.
David Johnston, Chief Executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, highlighted that financial services firms need to seriously consider who they give work experience to, instead of giving it to relatives of employees and friends.
Attendees included representatives from BNY Mellon, JP Morgan, EY, BAML, Deutsche Bank, Fidelity and Schroders.