We are now in the season where university students have graduated and are looking for jobs across the country.
But according to a new report for the Social Mobility Commission, there are a number of major mistakes graduates are making in the City that could cost them a lucrative job in banking.
The Social Mobility Foundation is an advisory public body which aims to promote social mobility in the UK.
Its report found that dress codes in the City are still “relatively opaque,” but there are a number of things that put potential employers off from giving graduates that dream job. The main issues were identified by the Social Mobility Commission as:
- Brown shoes
- Ill-fitting suits
- Poor haircuts
- “Loud” coloured attire
It offered the example of men wearing brown shoes with a business suit, which is “generally (not always) considered unacceptable by and for British bankers within the investment banking division,” even though bankers from continental Europe are permitted to wear them.
In another example given in the report, an interviewee was told he was “clearly quite sharp” but “not quite the fit for the bank” as he was not “polished” enough. His tie was “too loud,” the interviewer told him, and he should not worn with the suit he had chosen.
Other mistakes the report mentions are bad haircuts and suits that are “always too big.” Well chosen clothes are deemed important in banking because they “provide reassurance to clients”, the report said.
“Expensive clothes signify success and therefore indicate to the client low risk.”
The report also focused on issues such as accent, speech, and behaviour, generally summarised as “polished”. It suggested that:
- Confidence and self-belief are particularly important in banking, as “competence is equalled with confidence.”
- People who lack confidence “won’t survive. They will just be crushed underfoot.”
- Successful candidates are usually characterised by “appearing reasonably smooth, reasonably confident, knowing when to defer to somebody more senior than you, being able to take instruction without arguing about it, showing initiative, not being chippy about somebody you perceive as being different to you socially, not making other people feel uncomfortable”.
But one of the biggest issue arising from these observations is not about just getting any graduate a job, the report highlighted how this type of system of what is deemed acceptable or not for interviews automatically disadvantages pupils who attended state school.
This is because these attributes are “often more available to those who had grown up within a middle or upper middle-class environment, whether in the UK or indeed elsewhere … it’s a combination of social skills which the private schools teach.”
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