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LCCI hosts roundtable on socio-economic diversity in financial and professional services

Tuesday 22 February 2022

Concrete action needed to improve socio-economic diversity in financial and professional services

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry has today hosted a private roundtable with senior business leaders and Andy Haldane, head of the government’s levelling-up taskforce, to discuss how the UK can improve socio-economic diversity in UK financial and professional services, boost productivity, and find new levelling up opportunities.

The roundtable, held at the offices of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will inform the work of the City of London Corporation’s taskforce commissioned by HM Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, to advise on how the government, regulators, sector bodies and employers can work together to increase socio-economic diversity at senior levels of the financial and professional services sector.

The financial and professional services sector is a major contributor to economic growth and yet at senior levels it is one of the least diverse sectors. Research from the Bridge Group shows that employees from non-professional and lower socio-economic backgrounds progress 25% slower than peers, with no link to job performance. This is both a social mobility and levelling up issue and has a profound impact on our country and our economy.

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) operates a number of initiatives to encourage diversity and inclusion, including through their Asian Business Association and Black Business Association, so it is delighted to have hosted the roundtable today. As a champion and spokesperson for over 3,000 London busineses, LCCI supports the city’s businesses with some of the most pressing issue facing their sectors. In doing so, the Chamber advances the City’s standing as the preeminent global city for business and draws attention to London’s significant role as a powerhouse for the rest of the country.

Richard Burge, Chief Executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said: “We are delighted to have hosted this significant discussion today with Andy Haldane and we wholeheartedly agree that boosting representation at senior levels is vital if we are to maintain the sector’s globally competitive edge. It’s time to move the dial – we need concrete solutions to delivering tangible change and the first step is collaborative engagement across the sector.”

Andy Haldane, Co-Chair of the taskforce, said: “Today’s roundtable was an important opportunity to draw on the expertise of leading industry voices as we develop the taskforce’s recommendations. Evidence shows that diversity is severely lacking across financial and professional services. Many firms are striving to create opportunities to improve access to the sector, but there is much further to go. I am grateful to the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry for convening this discussion today to move forward this crucial agenda.

Mark Essex, Director of Skills, KPMG said: “This discussion marked a significant and important step forward for the financial and professional services sector. Our sector contributes a huge amount to our economy, and being a good social mobility employer is good for our businesses. We’re rightly investing a lot of energy measuring diversity but we need to go even faster to remove barriers to progression. I strongly support the work of the taskforce and thank the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry for facilitating the discussion.”

ENDS