Banks welcome in a new generation

African Caribbean finance forum: The City is losing out on black talent. Helen Jones reports on the drive to tempt young people into financial institutions

The City was once a traditional bastion of the old school tie. Its staff were white, male and upper class. All that changed in the Eighties, with the influx of young men and women with huge ambitions to make it to the top, but while the City began to open up, the number of black staff taken on by financial institutions remained small.

Paul Kingston (not his real name) a young black graduate who works for a large City firm, says, "there aren't many of us. I can't say that it is due to overt racism, but I think finance and banking are areas that young black men especially just don't think about getting into, or haven't been encouraged to try."

He adds that publicity over a recent racial discrimination case is unlikely to have encouraged more young blacks to think about financial institutions as potential employers. Last December James Curry, a high-flying American, claimed that he was hired as a token black and that racism blighted his career as an executive director at the investment bank Goldman Sachs. The industrial tribunal upheld Mr Curry's case, and he received a settlement rumoured to be between pounds 5m and pounds 10m. Mr Curry joined Merrill Lynch as a managing director, and has relocated with the bank to the US.

Today's fair represents a bid to encourage more young blacks to consider a career with a financial institution.

"We are under-represented in the City and in the professions generally," says Paul Campayne, chairman of ACFF, a former economist with the Bank of England who now works for the investment banker Paribas. The fair is aimed at final-year graduates and professionals with up to five years' work experience.

"It is clear to us is that there is a skills base and ambition in the community, and that organisations and companies in the City are beginning to recognise that," says Mr Campayne.

The ACFF is running a job-matching service at the event; so far 10 individuals have registered, and will be interviewed for jobs.

JP Morgan and Co says that it sees the fair as a way of reaching out to young black people.

"We've felt for a while that we should be doing more work in this country to encourage people ... there don't seem to be a lot of people of colour working in the City of London generally," say Tom Bain, JP Morgan's managing director.

A spokesman for Midland Bank, another sponsor, says, "We have found it difficult to attract young black people, who may perceive banking as white, male and middle class. We want to raise the profile of financial institutions and Midland Bank in particular as a good, friendly place to work."

The ACFF aims to encourage young black people in a number of other ways. Mr Campayne says the organisation was founded in 1990, when black banking professionals who met regularly decided to formalise their networking activities. "We thought young people needed mentoring, advice and guidance; we wanted to promote their recruitment, development and advancement," he says.

ACFF members now also include accountants, entrepreneurs, information technology specialists and teachers.

Brenda King, a member of ACFF's executive committee, says that one of its most important activities is mentoring. "We run a programme in inner- city schools where members go in and talk to 14-to-16-year-old boys, who, for some reason, do not do as well as females." She says that it has had some notable successes, including one "D-stream" kid who is now an "A- stream" student studying at sixth-form college, who, through ACFF's affiliation with the National Black MBA Association of America, is to visit the US to see what is available there.

Recruiting for the 21st Century, the Gallery, Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, London N1 (0171-978 9488). Open today, 9am-5.30pm, admission free..

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

    Recruitment Genius: General Processor

    £7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

    Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

    £18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

    Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

    £14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot