IA launches social mobility action plan to reach and retain diverse talent

Tuesday 24 September 2019

To mark National Inclusion Week, the Investment Association (IA) has today published a new report aimed at encouraging investment management firms to promote social mobility in their recruitment and retention practices.

The report, ‘Tackling the Class Ceiling’, sets out five recommendations to ensure investment managers attract and develop diverse talent from different classes and socio-economic backgrounds. Building on the success of Investment20/20, the industry careers service with a focus on widening access to diverse talent at grassroots level, and the IA’s new Talent Strategy for the Investment Management Industry, the report recommends:

  • Ending bias in recruitment by moving away from only considering degree qualifications, and instead taking account of other qualifications and life experiences that paint a fuller picture of applicants’ qualities and capabilities. 
  • Recruiting for potential rather than just polish, by avoiding focus on the way someone dresses or speaks at interview. The industry could also reduce the number of requirements asked for in a job description to the essentials, as relevant skills can also be gained after employment and through training. 
  • Committing to mobility in the workplace and highlighting successful role-models for people from different socio-economic backgrounds. Consider measuring the social background of staff as well, so you can spot a ‘class pay gap’ or similar inequalities in your workforce.
  • Expanding the talent pool by broadening outreach to schools, FE colleges and universities outside the range of standard elite institutions, to reach diverse young people from all backgrounds and encourage them to consider investment management as open to them.
  • Providing more entry points to the industry, rather than relying on traditional graduate recruitment cycles. The industry could create more avenues for people to enter straight from school, or transfer in later in their careers, and accommodate them in doing so by providing financial support where necessary. 

Chris Cummings, Chief Executive of the Investment Association, said:

“I grew up in a mining town in Yorkshire and for too many people from a similar background without networks or connections, a job in financial services can feel out of reach or even inaccessible. Our industry has become much better over recent years at acting on initiatives that promote gender, LGBT+ and racial diversity. However talking about social class and the journey people from different social backgrounds take into the City arguably remains one of the last social taboos.

“Putting diversity at the heart of recruitment and retention practices can widen horizons, produce better investment outcomes and discourage group think. Our new report puts diversity of social class front and centre through five key steps employers can take to harness social mobility, and ensure firms have diversity in all its forms hardwired into their DNA.”



To read the full report, click here.

For further information, please contact:

Helen Ayres, Communications Manager: [email protected] 

T: +44 (0)20 7269 4620

David Parton, Communications Executive: [email protected]

T: +44 (0)20 7269 4625

IA press office: [email protected]

T: 020 7269 4696

About the Investment Association (IA):

  • The IA champions UK asset management, supporting British savers, investors and businesses. Our 250 members manage £7.7 trillion of assets and the asset management industry supports 115,000 jobs across the UK.
  • Our mission is to make investment better. Better for clients, so they achieve their financial goals. Better for companies, so they get the capital they need to grow. And better for the economy, so everyone prospers.
  • Our purpose is to ensure investment managers are in the best possible position to:
    • Build people’s resilience to financial adversity
    • Help people achieve their financial aspirations
    • Enable people to maintain a decent standard of living as they grow older
    • Contribute to economic growth through the efficient allocation of capital.
  • The money our members manage is in a wide variety of investment vehicles including authorised investment funds, pension funds and stocks and shares ISAs.
  • The UK is the second largest investment management centre in the world, after the US and manages 37% of all assets managed in Europe.