Santander has removed the 2:1 degree requirement from its graduate scheme in a bid to improve the socio-economic diversity of its recruits.
The bank said it believes performance at university is not the only indicator of success at work. Official statistics show that around 16% of students leaving university do not achieve a 2:1 or 1st class degree.
By removing the minimum qualification requirement from January 2023, the company said the opportunity to apply to the Santander Graduate Programme will be open to 64,000 more people.
The Santander graduate scheme offers learning, mentoring, coaching, and work experience across the bank’s functions including audit, corporate and commercial banking, cyber, finance and risk.
Santander’s HR director, culture and capability, Anouska Ramsay, said: “Academic achievement is important, but it is only one of many factors we look at when searching for new talent. We believe potential can be found anywhere and this move reinforces our commitment to finding the best candidates from a wide range of backgrounds.
“We’ve won awards for our social mobility initiatives, and this is an important development to widen our recruitment criteria. Those that join us can expect to build a foundation for working in finance and grow their career path within the bank.”
Santander is ranked at number 40 in the 2022 Social Mobility Employers Index and is a founding member of Progress Together, a body that focuses on improving socio-economic diversity in financial services.
Recent research from KPMG found that class and socio-economic background have a greater impact on an individual’s career progression than any other diversity characteristic, while City & Guilds found 30% of 18-24 year olds feel they will never achieve their career ambitions.
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