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Date updated: 14/10/2022
Building the Baseline Report
Date submitted: 10/08/22

Building The Baseline: Breaking the Class Barrier Report

Measuring socio-economic diversity at senior levels in UK financial and professional services

This report was commissioned by a Government commissioned taskforce, led by the City of London Corporation. The taskforce, which concludes in November 2022, aims to boost socio-economic diversity at senior levels across UK financial and professional services.

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. With this data, we can share new insights into inclusion and how socio-economic background intersects with other personal characteristics, such as ethnicity and gender.  

Data collection on socio-economic diversity is significantly lacking within financial and professional services. However, by requesting this type of data for the survey, we prompted many organisations to measure this type of diversity for the first time, hoping to instil the practice and lead to socio-economic diversity data collection by organisations across the sector. 

The financial and professional services sector has the opportunity to provide solutions to the most pressing economic, environmental, and social issues. But these challenges are complex and require innovation driven by diverse perspectives. Better diversity and inclusion within organisations enables the ability to drive profits, increase productivity and foster innovation.

“We expect to see diversity and inclusion become part of how we regulate and part of how the UK financial sector does business… An inclusive culture is necessary to enable the benefits of diversity of thought to flourish in practice" - Financial Conduct Authority

"The sector must urgently respond to the results of this survey. We urge businesses to act now, and collect employee data on socio-economic background, setting targets and monitoring progress to encourage a level playing field for all." - Catherine McGuinness, Chair of the Socio-Economic Diversity Taskforce

“This research highlights the huge gaps that still remain within financial services when it comes to socio-economic background and who ends up in the most senior industry roles. It reinforces the importance of creating industry-wide progress together, and again makes the case for firms to look much more widely for senior talent to reach their full commercial potential.” Chris Woolard, Partner, EY