What will continue to make our industry successful? Henderson’s Andrew Formica sees clearly that a revolution in recruitment thinking and process holds one of the answers: “I worry that, over the past 10 years, our catchment of new joiners has got narrower and narrower. This has to be to the detriment of the long-term health of the industry.”
Let me share some of our experience to date at Investment2020 which Andrew Formica and Nichola Pease founded 3 years ago to attack the problem. We have much in common with the Diversity Project and we also have tools already in place such as our student awareness programme which will allow efforts to hit the ground running.
Restricted access to the industry can be reversed. The Investment2020 trainee programme was developed to open doors. A big part of this is encouraging under-represented groups such as women, ethnic minority groups and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds to join us.
How we are doing this is by challenging the old well-trodden paths to the City and offering a whole new approach to access that encompasses school leavers as well as graduates.
Through our national schools and colleges network we are able to speak directly to our students and change perceptions of the industry in a dramatic way at the point where career choices are being made.
And crucially we look at the special unique strengths that each person has to offer rather than obsessing with grades. We help them acquire the skills, experience and expertise they need to forge a career in our industry.
I can see a difference. Hundreds of students have found employment through our trainee scheme. More than 9 out of 10 are from a state school background, over a third are female and just under a half are from ethnic minorities.
But actually in terms of coverage this is only the tip of the iceberg, which is an exciting thought for the work we still have to do in the years ahead.
Numbers here can certainly help to tell the story but the voices of the young people themselves full of passion and enthusiasm can sometimes say it more loudly than anything we say ourselves.