The diversity agenda – capturing top talent
With unemployment among young people now at 23% (the highest in 20 years), there has never been a greater need to help youngsters realise their ambitions and encourage aspirations about their future careers.
With 260,000 employees (9,300 in the UK) across 200 global locations, Citi is already ‘phenomenally’ diverse according to Lines, and each year receives close to 40,000 applications for just 400 graduate positions across EMEA. Yet when it comes to young people, much more needs to be done to lure in and educate state school pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds that a career in banking is a real option for them.
“We want to put banking on the table,” says a defiant Lines. “These people don’t get the access to the banking industry that their peers from fee-paying schools do.” Lines’ fierce passion is infectious. State school educated herself, she went on to study at Oxford: “I’ve always been very conscious of how much easier peers from fee-paying schools found that environment. State schools should be given the same opportunities.
“A lot of children are at a disadvantage because they don’t have access to the careers advice, social capital or parental input that people from more privileged backgrounds have. If there’s no-one in your family who has been to university or with a professional career, where do you start?”