The HM Treasury and BEIS has commissioned a taskforce to “boost diversity” in UK financial and professional services, after a study found that almost nine in ten senior roles held in these positions were from people in higher socio-economic backgrounds.
The report, which draws on data from eight major employers in the financial services sector, also found that employee applications from lower socio-economic backgrounds take 25% longer to progress, despite no evidence of poorer performance.
To tackle the lack of representation, the Treasury has now promised to “lead an industry consultation” on how government, regulators and sector bodies can “incentivise firms to take action” to improve socio-economic diversity.
It has also outlined plans to create a membership body for financial services, where employers can benchmark against each other and share best practice on delivering socio-economic diversity at senior levels.
John Glen, city minister, and economic secretary to the Treasury, said: “We’re entering a new chapter for UK financial services and it’s vital that firms have the right leadership to grasp the opportunities ahead.
“That means taking action to ensure that talented people from all backgrounds and parts of the country can reach their full potential. By breaking down socio-economic barriers to progression, our financial services sector will become more innovative and competitive, and help to level up the UK.”