City firms push for diversity in a bid to secure top talent

Employers
in the City are increasingly focusing on improving diversity as they compete
for the best talent, a new report has found.

A
study of nearly 30 investment banks and other finance houses, by law firm
Nabarro Nathanson, found that employers are trying to combat the traditionally
macho culture associated with the City.

Sue
Ashtiany, head of employment at Nabarro Nathanson, said the firms surveyed
denied they were trying to improve diversity policies to avoid costly tribunal
claims and forthcoming discrimination legislation on sexual orientation and
belief. She claimed the main driver was recruiting the best people.

"The
companies we surveyed brushed aside claims that change is legally motivated.
There is a big agenda for change. People expect a lot from their staff. They
are asking: ‘How do we get the best out of people?’," she said.

The
study shows a number of City employers have introduced dedicated diversity
teams to ensure the issue is taken seriously. Companies are also placing more
emphasis on work-life balance.

Nicola
Leach, UBS Warburg UK diversity manager, said focusing on diversity can deliver
business benefits. "The working environment should be one in which
everyone can contribute to their full potential," she said.

Patricia
Hewitt, trade and industry secretary, said: "Research shows diversity can
be promoted even in a fast-moving and globally competitive environment."

By
Michael Millar

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