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UK financial sector has given new targets to address diversity in executive positions

According to a task force supported by the government, the financial services industry in the UK should do more to reach the ‘class’ limit, with new goals calling for 50% of senior executives to be drawn from low socioeconomic or working-class backgrounds by 2030.

On Wednesday, the City of London Corporation, overseeing the British financial sector, stated that the changes were essential for both enhancing boardroom diversity and accelerating the sector’s growth.

In a recent report, the “socioeconomic diversity taskforce,” set a plan for businesses to follow to ensure parental status and languages do not determine advancement at work.

Taskforce chair Catherine McGuiness said,

We need to break the ‘class’ ceiling — removing unfair barriers to progression is not only the right thing to do, but it will also enable firms to boost productivity, retention levels and innovation.

People from intermediate backgrounds rarely advance at work

The study found that intermediate backgrounds and the working class make up around 50% of all workers in the financial sector in the United Kingdom. However, they often advance 25% more slowly than their colleagues.

According to the study, only 36% of those workers succeed in moving up the corporate ladder to senior positions. In addition, employees with non-professional backgrounds typically earn around £17,500 less annually, with little correlation to their productivity on the job.

The United Kingdom has among the lowest social mobility rates in the industrialized world, according to the research, which means individuals who are historically economically privileged tend to remain at the top.

The City of London Corporation’s Social Economic Diversity Task Force co-chair, Andy Haldane said,

For too long, personal growth has been constrained by people’s socioeconomic background.

Taskforce set 2030 targets to achieve diversity.

Additionally, to achieve the 2030 goals, banking institutions and other businesses providing professional and financial services will be required to gather information on the socioeconomic origins of their personnel.

The task force will review the industry-wide targets in 2025 to ensure they stay achievable. Over 100 sector participants collaborated with the task force on the report.

Haldane concluded,

We cannot grow as a country unless people grow. For too long, personal growth has been constrained by people’s socioeconomic background. Today’s recommendations signal a break from the past.

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