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| 1 minute read

Building the baseline: Socio-economic diversity at senior levels

Earlier in the year, I was delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to research carried out by the City of London Corporation's socio-economic diversity taskforce on socio-economic diversity at senior levels in professional and financial services. Their report has now been published and it is well worth a read.

The headlines include:

  • 64% of senior leaders in UK professional and financial services organisations come from professional backgrounds compared to 37% of the population
  • employees from working-class backgrounds in these industries are 17% less likely to have benefited from a senior-level sponsor to support their career progression
  • 67% of job seekers consider workplace diversity an important factor when considering employment opportunities and more than 50% of current employees want their workplace to do more to increase diversity
  • the profits of organisations focusing on social mobility are 1.4 times higher than those of their competitors

As this report states, the financial and professional services sector is providing solutions to the most pressing economic, environmental and social issues - but these challenges are complex and require innovation driven by diverse perspectives. As we move out of the pandemic, businesses cannot ignore the need to consider socio-economic diversity if they want to maximise productivity and stand out from their competitors. More importantly, in my view, paying attention to social mobility is the right thing to do for businesses that want to incorporate their values into their strategy. However, if diversity is not addressed at senior levels, this will make cultural change difficult. 

Surveying over 9,000 employees across 49 organisations, the taskforce aimed to establish a baseline of socio-economic diversity at senior levels in UK financial and professional services


employment law, employment tribunal, pension disputes, pensions, public sector pensions, solicitor, values driven business