JPMorgan bolsters Black UK bankers by 45% in a year

JPMorgan has increased the number of Black employees in its UK operations by 45% over the past year, as investment banks look to bolster ethnic diversity in the wake of a revived Black Lives Matter movement.

Increasing the number of Black employees in high-paying front line jobs at JPMorgan is a key focus of its diversity efforts in Europe, according to Cecil Peters who was promoted to lead the bank’s diversity, equity and inclusion team in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in March.

“Our priority is bringing more ethnic diversity into the front office, but particularly Black professionals, which are the least represented group,” he told Financial News† “But the industry needs to be focused on a long-term view. If we only look at bringing in more people who can do the job today, we’ll just keep hiring from each other. We need to grow the pool.”

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JPMorgan increased the population of Black employees by 45% in the UK last year, and by a further 16% since January, Peters said. At the senior level, the number of Black managing directors in the country has increased by 25% since the beginning of 2022. He declined to give absolute numbers.

Investment banks in the City have struggled to bolster the number of Black employees, particularly in senior dealmaking jobs, FN has previously reported. In 2020, just three of the top 650 investment bankers in the City were Black, according to exclusive analysis by leading City headhunters on behalf of FN

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In the wake of the death of George Floyd in May 2020, investment banks have rolled out new targets to increase representation of Black employees. In the UK, Goldman Sachs is targeting 7% entry-level Black recruits and 7% in its mid-ranks by 2025, while Barclays is aiming to double its numbers of Black managing directors. HSBC has pledged to double its number of Black director-level employees over the next five years as part of an “urgent response” to Black Lives Matter.

“The industry needs to focus on bringing in more Black students at the entry level and widening the group we target,” said Peters. “A few years ago, the industry was focused on top universities. But now we’re very clear — we’re interested in the individual, not the university they go to.”

In October 2020, JPMorgan rolled out an apprenticeship program for its front office investment banking jobs, which typically attracts thousands of applications from graduates from top universities. Last year, it launched The Switch, a recruitment scheme that hires Black professionals from other sectors into its UK operation.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Paul Clarke

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