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Date updated: 18/05/2022

The City of London Corporation is committed to supporting the competitiveness of Financial and Professional services through a skilled and talented London, UK and global workforce. Our objective is to develop a diverse and resilient City that creates jobs and opportunities for people from all backgrounds. We help businesses of all sizes in the Square Mile to compete globally and create lasting value for people across London and the UK.

We’re doing this through:

A new taskforce to boost socio-economic diversity in UK financial and professional services sectors

A new taskforce has launched to improve socio-economic diversity at senior levels in financial and professional services across the UK.

The independent taskforce, commissioned by HM Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and run by the City of London Corporation, focuses particularly on boosting representation at the top of these sectors.

The taskforce was launched on 24th November 2020 by Government Ministers John Glen and Nadhim Zahawi, alongside new research – commissioned by the City of London Corporation and authored by the Bridge Group. This research finds that almost nine in ten senior roles in financial services are held by people from higher socio-economic backgrounds. This compares with a third of the UK working population as a whole.

The report – which draws on data from eight major employers in the financial services sector, and adds to existing evidence in professional services – also finds that employees from lower socio-economic backgrounds take 25% longer to progress, despite no evidence of poorer performance. This ‘progression gap’ increases to 32% when considering those from lower socio-economic backgrounds who also identify as Black.

The taskforce is led by Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair at the City of London Corporation and Sandra Wallace, Interim Chair of the Social Mobility Commission, Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England, and Alderman Vincent Keaveny, Senior Alderman at the City of London Corporation.

Financial Services Skills Commission

The Financial Services Skills Taskforce was launched in June 2018 by the then Chancellor to ensure the sector is prepared to meet long-term skills needs over a period of unprecedented technological and social change. It was chaired by former City Minister Mark Hoban and convened by TheCityUK with support from EY and the City of London Corporation, with the final report delivered in January 2020.

An outcome from the Taskforce is the newly established Financial Skills Services Commission. The Commission’s work will be led by its Chief Executive Officer, Claire Tunley, and will focus on the following priorities:

  1. reskilling, upskilling and retraining staff while protecting and expanding employment in key regional and national financial centres
  2. creating a sector-wide future-skills framework linked to an accreditation programme
  3. attracting, motivating and retaining the widest and deepest pool of talent
  4. strengthening the purpose and culture of the sector to ensure it remains attractive to existing and future talent.

Professional Business Services Council

We are working with the Professional Business Services Council in collaboration with government departments, to support a programme of research and skills policy development, complementing our input to development of a sector deal. This work focuses on skills gaps and emerging new skills requirements across the UK regions, identifying measures that employers and government can take to transform the skills of the sector’s workforce.


Apprenticeship reforms were introduced in April 2017 to increase the quality and quantity of apprenticeships in England. As part of these reforms, the Apprenticeship Levy on employers was introduced. We launched a survey in May 2018 to understand how businesses are using their levy payments and engaging with apprenticeships and what the impact has been, one year since the levy’s implementation. The findings in this apprenticeship report (see bottom of page) reflect the insights gained from 129 responses from Financial and Professional Services firms located in London. These businesses collectively pay over £27.3 million in apprenticeship levy contributions and employ over 329,000 people. The findings are a temperature check of the impact of the Apprenticeship Levy on London’s Financial and Professional Services businesses. You can read the expanded report (see bottom of page) for more details.

Social Mobility 

The Social Mobility Employer Index ranks participating employers on accessing and progressing talent from all backgrounds, and showcases their progress towards improving social mobility. As founding sponsors of the Index, we want to help the Financial and Professional Services sector to increase workforce diversity, track progress and benchmark with peers. This partnership sits under our Social Mobility strategy, launched in 2018.

Social Mobility Commission’s Employer Toolkit

Launched in partnership with the City of London, the Social Mobility Commission’s Employer Toolkit provides practical advice for employers.


The processes of taking on an apprentice can seem complex, particularly for small and medium sized businesses, who perhaps lack capacity but are paying the levy and want to use their investment.

To help businesses understand the process, we have designed a series of eight webinars below, to dismantle some of the complexity and simplify the steps involved in taking on an apprentice.

Working in partnership with City HR Association, Investment 2020, and the Acumen@Work, these webinars will help you to navigate apprenticeship processes, take on apprentices and use your Levy payments.


Digital skills, a coalition led by past Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Peter Estlin, seeks to address the digital skills gap. The coalition, launched on October 10 2019, brings together over 25 organisations such as Lloyds Banking Group, BT, Accenture, Brunswick, Department for Education, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Good Things Foundation, and Six. This partnership sits under our Digital Skills strategy (see bottom of page), launched in 2018.

We piloted a programme, called CAP Talent, delivering paid work-experience for computer science students at London tech-start-ups. The scheme was delivered by start-up experts Capital Enterprise, and is currently being evaluated.

Progression in the workplace

In partnership with the Government Equalities Office, we convened the financial and professional services sector to map out opportunities for women’s progression in the workplace. The resultant toolkit provides clear guidelines on how to create an inclusive workplace culture through strong participation of women.

We are signatories to the Women in Finance Charter, and in partnership with New Financial and the HM Treasury, we host the annual ceremony at Guildhall.

City development

We work with developers in the City to help them meet a target of 20% local labour on their sites, as required by our Section 106 planning policy.

Attracting diverse talent into Financial Services

In partnership with the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments, we have provided over 80 places on the Level 2 Fundamentals for Financial Services course. The programme increases the pipeline of diverse candidates into the financial services sector, and is targeted at year 12 students from local schools. Following the qualification, students are offered a place on Investment 2020’s Think Investment’s employability programme.

Our Global Offer

We work with Chartered Bodies to ensure qualifications are transferable overseas, to encourage the flow of talent around the world.

Apprenticeships in London's Financial and Professional Sector PDF (1MB)
Date submitted: 24/02/20
Apprenticeships in London's Financial and Professional Sector - full text version PDF (615KB)
Date submitted: 24/02/20
Social Mobility Strategy 2018
Date submitted: 13/07/20