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Banks In UK Asked To Destroy The "Class Ceiling" As New Targets Are Set About Increasing Diversity Among Senior Positions

Banks In UK Asked To Destroy The "Class Ceiling" As New Targets Are Set About Increasing Diversity Among Senior Positions
A UK government-backed task force has stat6edt hat the country's financial services sector should be doing more to "break the 'class' ceiling," even as new targets urging for at least half of senior leaders to be appointed from working-class or lower socioeconomic backgrounds by 2030.
The City of London Corporation, which governs the United Kingdom's finance industry, said Wednesday that the changes were critical not only for improving boardroom diversity but also for boosting the sector's growth.
The governing body's "socio-economic diversity taskforce," which was commissioned in 2020, outlined a path for firms to follow to ensure that accents and parentage do not dictate workplace progression in a new report.
“We need to break the ‘class’ ceiling — removing unfair barriers to progression is not only the right thing to do, it will enable firms to boost productivity, retention levels and innovation,” Catherine McGuinness, chair of the task force, said.
According to the research, roughly half of all U.K. Employees in financial services are currently from non-professional backgrounds, which are defined as working class and intermediate backgrounds. Nonetheless, they progress at a 25% slower rate than their peers.
According to the report, just over a third (36%) of those employees advance to senior positions. Employees from non-professional backgrounds, on the other hand, are paid up to £17,500 ($20,890) less per year, with no link to their professional performance.
According to the report, the U.K. has one of the lowest rates of social mobility in the developed world, which means that "those who are already economically advantaged tend to remain at the top."
For far too long, people's socioeconomic backgrounds have hampered their personal development.
Banks and other financial and professional services firms will be expected to collect data on their employees' socioeconomic backgrounds in order to provide an accurate baseline as they work toward the 2030 targets.
The task force, which collaborated on the report with more than 100 industry representatives, will review the sector-wide targets in 2025 to ensure they remain realistic.
The report made no mention of the consequences of failing to meet the thresholds.
The goals coincide with the release of a separate task force report outlining the business benefits of increased socioeconomic diversity. According to the report, socioeconomic diversity can increase company profits by 1.4 times while also increasing productivity and innovation.
“We cannot grow as a country unless people grow. For too long, personal growth has been constrained by people’s socio-economic background. Today’s recommendations signal a break from the past,” Andy Haldane, co-chair of the socio-economic diversity task force, said.
It comes as the UK's financial services industry seeks to reestablish itself as a global finance hub following a series of post-Brexit company relocations and a drop in international rankings.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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