By Alex Barnes, Alumni Programme Manager
At Future First, our vision is for a world where a young person’s start in life does not limit their future.
The recent launch of a government taskforce to improve socio-economic diversity in banking and financial services across the UK was created in response to research commissioned by the City of London Corporation and authored by the Bridge Group. This report revealed that nine in 10 senior roles are held by people from high socio-economic backgrounds and that employees from less privileged backgrounds take 25% longer to progress in the industry, despite no evidence of poorer performance.
This prompted us to throw our support behind the campaign for change in the sector, highlighting how former students and strong alumni networks can make a real difference, but that the drive for change needs to come from within financial institutions themselves. As part of our response, we mobilised our National Alumni Network to help play a part in ensuring that talented young people from less privileged backgrounds could gain advice from the professionals, learn tips and find out about other useful resources and pathways available. Alongside members of our National Alumni Network who were experts in the sector, we hosted a virtual Careers in Banking and Finance Panel to guide and inspire young people from state schools who want to pursue a career in the industry.
Watch the panel discussion below
We were delighted to be able to include Chloe Wong, Senior Investment Associate at Pollen Street Capital – a Future First employer partner. As well as sharing her career insight, Chloe has also taken part in Future First workshops with Edith Neville Primary school in Camden to help support Year 6 students build communication and teamwork skills and to help them feel more confident about their future. Also featured is Nick Smith, Director at the Alternative Investment Management Association, and Chair of the Labour in the City organisation; Nick is keen to support us in opening up opportunities for students from all backgrounds to the world of finance and banking.
We hope that initiatives such as this – and we’ll continue to create more – will help young people across the UK feel better prepared to pursue their ambitions in the sector. Hearing from our National Alumni Network members as they talk about their own career journeys and the things they wish they had known when they were at school, can’t fail to inspire young people and boost their confidence to take their first steps towards a future that could be theirs.
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