Report Overview

This report details the Sutton Trust’s Pathways to Banking programme and summarises research from The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) revealing how the financial services sector disproportionately recruits students with an independent education.

Key Findings

  • BCG found that 34% of recent intakes and 51% of leaders in the banking sector who were from the UK went to independent schools – compared to 7% of the school population.
  • 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 BCG review identified many examples of good practice among banks in their education and outreach work, working with a host of charities.
  • It concluded however that there was much more that could be done. A more comprehensive approach across the sector, spanning work with schools and universities and – where it makes sense – linked to recruitment into the sector would increase the impact of their efforts.


The report includes proposals for a Pathways to Banking programme with five pillars of activity.

  • Early intervention: working with schools to identify and support potential candidates pre-16 and to explain the routes into careers in banking
  • Work with parents and teachers to help them support and boost students’ aspirations
  • University access: getting the right pupils into the right universities
  • Work experience: providing relevant on-the-job opportunities for school and university students

On-going support – providing follow up support to young people once a specific activity has ended, making the most of that experience and future opportunities