Report: investment banking locks out disadvantaged applicants 2nd September 2016

A report from the respected Social Mobility Commission highlights a culture of conformity in investment banking, where even clothes can count against less privileged young people.

It finds that most investments banks still predominantly favour middle- and higher-income candidates who come from 6 or 7 of the country’s top universities.

Researchers also find that young people who aspire to senior roles in investment banking are also required to secure work experience – which favours those with informal networks.

The researchers find that managers often select candidates for client-facing jobs who fit the traditional image of an investment banker and display polish; some still place as much importance on an individual’s comportment (speech, accent, dress and behaviour) as on their skills and qualifications.

They note that this can disadvantage candidates whose upbringing and background means they are not aware of ‘opaque’ city dress codes. For example, some senior investment bankers still deem it unacceptable for men to wear brown shoes with a business suit.

When they join our programmes, many of our students are unaware that investment banking even exists as a potential career, but our partners in the sector, including Barclays and BNY Mellon, have provided inspirational opportunities to gain insight into possible career paths. Read about a visit by Uni Genius to Barclays here.

Read the Social Mobility Commission report here.