Connectr plays key role in the launch of Progress Together


26th May 2022

Read Time

10 Minutes

Three women speak at desk and smile.

New Financial Services sector body aims to close class pay gap

Progress Together, a new, nationwide membership body focused on improving socio-economic diversity at senior levels in the Financial Services sector, by focusing on Progression & Retention, was launched by the Lord Mayor of London & the City Minister on Friday 20th May 2022.

We’re proud to announce that Connectr played a key role in the formation of the new body. Our Strategic Lead of Emerging Talent – Simon Reichwald – was the Delivery Partner Lead for ‘Progress Together’. The other Delivery Partners for the 2 other Workstreams of the Taskforce focus on an Industry Consultation and the Business case are Deloitte and PwC, respectively.

The taskforce was led by the City of London Corporation, which was commissioned by both the Treasury and BEIS in 2020 to find ways to increase socioeconomic diversity in the financial sector.

The Progress Together launch included sharing new data from a survey of nearly 10,000 people from 49 financial and professional services firms which found that employees from non-professional backgrounds are 30% less likely to be working at a senior level compared with colleagues from professional backgrounds (defined by parental occupation at 14).

Progress Together builds on hundreds of hours of roundtables, interviews and extensive research – including an earlier Bridge Group report which showed that:

  • 89% of senior roles in financial services are held by people from higher socio-economic backgrounds (defined by parental occupation at 14) compared with 37% across the UK working population.
  • Employees from lower socio-economic backgrounds progress 25% slower than peers, with no link to performance.
  • The class pay gap in financial services is £17.5k, the largest by sector.

Square Blog Image Emma and Simon

Progress Together, comprises 12 founding partners as well as members from the Financial Services sector and key supporter firms, all of whom have committed to collect data, take actions to drive change.

The body will work with UK financial services employers, wherever they are on the socio-economic diversity journey, enabling them to better understand the barriers to progress, share best practice, including on data collection, build a peer network, identify emerging issues, and take the required actions through policies and processes to drive change.

Through a series of workshops, resources, firm to firm mentoring and data benchmarking, Progress Together will help its members to progress and retain a socio-economically diverse workforce.

Simon Reichwald from Connectr said: “This is a fantastic initiative with which I have been delighted to be involved.”

Progress Together will organise workshops, share resources and provide the tools to build mentoring schemes, so that people who have the talent but who may lack the social networks and more privileged background, can reach the top-tier in financial and professional services. The Body will enable firms to have the processes and policies so that every can achieve 100% of their full potential”

Catherine McGuinness, former head of policy at the City of London Corporation and chair of the taskforce, said Progress Together would “help advance our vision of a sector where performance is valued over “fit” and “polish”.

The City minister, John Glen, said the body would work with employers to help them understand the barriers to progress for staff, share best practice, identify emerging issues and push for necessary policy changes.

John Glen said, “Research tells us that the majority of senior roles in financial services are held by those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds,”

“Financial services organisations across the UK, of all sizes, can benefit from this new membership body, ensuring that the government’s levelling up agenda is carried out, delivering equal progress and opportunity for all.”

Progress Together was officially launched at an event which took place at Mansion House in London and hosted by Alderman Vincent Keaveny,
The Rt Hon the Lord Mayor.