The Sutton Trust is joining forces with four of the world’s leading banks – Barclays, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Lloyds – to launch a major new effort to improve social mobility and access to the banking sector for talented students from low and middle income backgrounds.

The new initiative is supported by a study, Pathways to Banking, by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) for the Trust, published today, of 500 leaders and 1,800 new recruits in the financial services. The research found that over half of the leaders in financial services were independently educated, compared with 7% of the school population.

BCG found that 34% of recent intakes and 51% of leaders in the banking sector who were from the UK went to independent schools. For the financial services sector as a whole, which included banking, insurance, hedge funds and asset management and private equity firms, 37% of recent intakes and 60% of leaders were independently educated.

The initiative will improve social mobility by giving young people the training and support they need to realise their potential. The report recommends a framework of activities, focusing on an early start and providing on-going support, which will ensure young people from low and middle income backgrounds are informed about the range of jobs available to them in the sector.

By acting to increase access for non-privileged young people to the sector, the study concludes that banks will also benefit from a more diverse workforce, ensuring that there are a mix of perspectives within teams to improve decision-making and a broader understanding of customer needs.

The BCG review identified many examples of good practice among banks in their education and outreach work. It concluded, however, that an ‘end-to-end’ approach, spanning work with schools and universities and linked to recruitment into the sector, would ensure that young people are supported throughout key stages in their education and also enable banks to be most cost-effective in their recruitment.

The four banks named are committing to work with the Trust to improve social mobility and widen access to the banking sector, bolstering and expanding their existing programmes to improve educational opportunities for non-privileged young people.

For some, this means supporting the expansion of Sutton Trust flagship programmes and, where appropriate, tailoring them to include mentoring, work experience and careers advice. For others, the Sutton Trust will offer to review their current outreach and recruitment work to enable them to more effectively access a wider pool of high calibre students.

Pathways to Banking draws on an approach developed by the Sutton Trust through its successful Pathways to Law programme, generously funded by the Legal Education Foundation. This has supported 2,000 students during the last seven years and now involves 12 major universities, including Oxford, and 30 top law firms, including Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, DLA Piper, Eversheds, Hogan Lovells, Linklaters and Mayer Brown.

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust and of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside the major banks to reduce the waste of talent that blights this country and, ultimately, to help them recruit talented young people from low and middle income backgrounds.
“I would never have enjoyed a successful career as an entrepreneur and philanthropist without both the education and access to opportunities I had. Too many state educated students remain unaware of the careers available in banking and how to attain them, and I believe it is in the interest of the banks to attract talent from a wider range of social backgrounds.”

Ian Walsh, Partner and Managing Director at BCG, said: “At BCG, we’re very proud of our partnership with the Sutton Trust which has now extended over many years to help improve education and social mobility in the UK.  We recognise the challenges the financial sector faces in recruiting more students from low and middle-income families and we are delighted to support the Trust and the participating banks in their efforts to do that through Pathways to Banking.”

Support from the banks:

Irene McDermott Brown, Group Human Resources Director at Barclays, said: “I am very pleased that we are partnering with The Sutton Trust as part of Barclays’ broader commitment to change 5 Million Young Futures by 2015. This programme, one of many we run as part of our wider community investment work, will see Barclays invest not only money, but colleagues’ time and expertise in projects that enhance the enterprise, employability and financial skills of millions of disadvantaged young people over the next few years. The Pathways to Banking programme will help support a diverse and talented pool of young people in developing the skills they need to fulfil their potential while adding real and significant value to the wider financial services sector.

”Colin Grassie, Chief Executive Officer of the UK, Deutsche Bank, in support of the initiative said, “Enabling young talent has long been part of Deutsche Bank’s global corporate citizenship strategy. As a leading global universal bank we recognise the importance of diversity in achieving commercial success, and helping young people achieve true social mobility is one of our key aims, as evidenced by our new youth engagement programme, Born to Be. We are delighted to be part of an initiative that opens up opportunities for young people from less privileged backgrounds to become the next generation banking professionals.”

Simon Martin, Head of Global Corporate Sustainability at HSBC, said: “I am delighted that HSBC is supporting the new Pathways to Banking programme to help improve social mobility by getting talented young people from less advantaged backgrounds into the top universities. This is a new element of HSBC’s successful Young People Programme which has a proven track record in supporting education. In the UK, HSBC donates £14 million a year for education, including scholarships.”

Christopher Jackson, Head of Emerging Talent at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “As one of the biggest employers in the UK, our goal is to create and nurture a new and diverse generation of talent. Building opportunities for employment is just one of the ways we can help Britain prosper. Working with the Sutton Trust in this way will allow us to further identify talented school pupils, regardless of their background, and advise them of the widest range of pathways into banking. This partnership adds a further dimension to the wide range of social mobility initiatives we undertake, including a comprehensive Apprenticeship Programme, our Lloyds Scholars Programme, as well as our work with Career Academies.”

‎Some examples of Sutton Trust partnerships with the banks: 

With an investment, Barclays will support the Trust’s flagship summer school programme improving access to leading universities, which remains one of the key routes into the banking sector.  As part of this, Barclays staff will be offering mentoring to state school students.

HSBC have committed to a 5-year grant of £2million to the Sutton Trust teacher summer schools’ national programme for state school teachers. HSBC staff will also give talks on banking as part of the bank’s support.

Deutsche Bank commits over €83m (£68m) towards social projects and supports more than 1.5 million beneficiaries in education projects globally each year. With support from The Sutton Trust the bank will identify further opportunities to connect its existing youth talent programmes focused on this cohort to its Born to Be youth engagement programme providing an end to end solution for raising aspirations, skills development and access opportunities.

The Trust and Lloyds are planning a programme to identify talented school pupils and advise them on different pathways into banking.


1. The Sutton Trust is a foundation set up in 1997, dedicated to improving social mobility through education. It has published over 140 research studies and funded and evaluated programmes that have helped hundreds of thousands of young people of all ages, from early years through to access to the professions. On its summer school programme alone it has supported 10,000 students.

2. The report, Pathways to Banking, is available on the Sutton Trust website

3. Sutton Trust research has found that despite making up only 7% of the school population, pupils from independent schools are over represented in the country’s professional elites making up over a third (35%) of MPs, over half of medics (51%), and of leading news journalists (54%), and seven in ten (70%) of high court judges.

4. The Pathways to Law programme was set up in 2006 by The Sutton Trust and The Legal Education Foundation (formerly The College of Law), with support from major law firms, to inspire and support academically-able students in year 12 and 13 from non-privileged backgrounds interested in a career in law. It has supported 2,000 students during the last seven years. The scheme delivers a full and varied programme of lectures, seminars, advice and guidance sessions, skills development workshops and interaction with undergraduate students and professionals through e-mentoring and a legal work placement. Thanks to a generous grant of £1.2m from the Legal Education Foundation, matched by a further £1.2m from leading law firms and universities, another 1200 students will take part in Pathways over the next four years:

5. Barclays Barclays’ three year investment in the Sutton Trust summer school programme is part of 5 Million Young Futures, Barclays’ commitment to invest in community programmes that enhance the enterprise, employability and financial skills of five million young people aged 10 to 35, by 2015.

6. Deutsche Bank Deutsche Bank invests directly in the societies in which it operates. Around the world, the bank enables educational, social and cultural projects that build social capital and bring about positive change. Deutsche Bank and its foundations are among the world’s active corporate citizens investing over EUR83m in social projects and around 24% of employees in volunteering opportunities every year.Born to Be is part of Deutsche Bank’s corporate citizenship strategy focused on education and enabling talent. In the UK, Born to Be seeks to break the cycle of youth unemployment through early intervention. It targets 11-18 year olds at risk of exclusion with education-led projects that aim to increase achievement, develop employability skills and raise aspirations.

7. HSBC UK education programmesHSBC has been involved with education projects throughout its history. Education has grown to be the most significant focus of the Group’s community investment activities. Globally, HSBC invests around US$50 million a year in education projects and thousands of HSBC employees get involved. Together, we help young people fulfil their potential and realise their ambitions, by: providing access to education, developing life-skills and entrepreneurship, and promoting international and cultural understanding. Find out more at:

8. Lloyds Banking GroupWith a heritage of making a difference within its communities that spans decades, last year Lloyds Banking Group invested £85m in UK communities. Through its branches and businesses, the Group has the potential to reach every family and community in the UK and places immense value on its commitment to helping Britain prosper. Driven by its desire to give back to the communities in which it operates, the Group supports a wide range of ground breaking programmes such as Lloyds Scholars, Money for Life, Community Fund, Lloyds Bank Foundations and Bank of Scotland Foundation to name a few. The Group believes that giving back to communities is not simply a measure of its success; it believes it’s an important measure of what the Group stands.

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