Series Five, Episode Six: Recruitment through the lens of Social mobility and Returners

Posted on July 25, 2019

In the final episode of Series Five, Dominie Moss, Founder of the Return Hub, and Reggie Nelson from Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM), discuss Returners and those beginning their career in the City. The two consider senior female returners heading back to financial services or transferring their skills to other sectors and reaching the talent pool of young people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. They focus on what can organisations do to attract, motivate and retain young and returning talent, the future of work and how the outsourced recruitment process needs to change.

Dominie Moss

Dominie Moss is Founder of The Return Hub. In 2016, Dominie set up The Return Hub to fill a significant gap in the executive search market. Realising the potential of senior women in the City is a cause she has long been passionate about. Prior to The Return Hub, Dominie spent 20 years working in financial services, first as a commodities trader and then for 15 years in executive search.

You can follow Dominie on Twitter @Dominie.

Reggie Nelson

Reggie Nelson is most recognised by the media as the young man who went ‘from East London to the City’. He graduated with an economics degree while studying Mandarin alongside his degree. On his journey, Reggie completed five internships including a spring and two summer internships at BlackRock, Aberdeen Standard Investments and Armstrong Investment Managers.

Reggie is a Graduate Analyst, rotating across Client Business and Investments at Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM), Chair of the ACCA Emerging Talent Advisory Group, youth mentor for one of the largest youth networks in the U.K, and is described by the Prime Minister as a “persistent and inspiring young person”.

You can follow Reggie on Twitter @ReggieNelson_10.

 

Series Five, Episode Six Transcript

Julia: Hello, my name is Julia Streets and welcome to Divercity Podcast, talking about equality, inclusion, and diversity in financial services. On the podcast, we seek to shine a light on positive progress, call out areas requiring further focus, and often lots of ideas to help drive change. 

Today I’m joined by Dominie Moss, founder of the Return Hub, and Reggie Nelson from Legal and General Investment Management. In 2016, Dominie set up the Return Hub to fill a significant gap in the executive search market. She has long been passionate about realising the potential of senior women in the City, and her firm places professionals who want to relaunch their career after a break, or transfer their careers within the sector.

Dominie has spent 20 years working in the industry, offering a combination of capital markets expertise, as well as insight into industry trends and dynamics. For example, she was a former partner at JD Haspel in Global Banking and Markets, and Dominie was also the Head of Diversity, before that, a Managing Director at Sheffield Haworth, where she set up the Foreign Exchange Practise at Global Head of Fixed Income and Currencies. Dominie, welcome to the show.

Dominie: Thank you Julia.

Julia: Reggie Nelson’s journey into the City created a great deal of media interest, described as the young man who went from East London to the City. On his journey Reggie graduated with an Economics Degree whilst also studying Mandarin, and has completed five internships at BlackRock, Aberdeen Standard Investments and Armstrong Investment Managers. Today, Reggie is a Graduate Analyst, rotating across client business and investments at Legal and General Investment Management. He is also Chair of the ACCA Emerging Talent Advisory Group and a youth mentor for one of the largest youth networks in the UK, he was described by the Prime Minister herself as a persistent and inspiring young person. Reggie, welcome to the show.

Reggie: Thank you for having me Julia.

Julia: As always at the start of the show, we invite each guest to talk about what they’re up to at the moment. Dominie, let me start with you. What are you particularly focused on at the moment?

Dominie: Essentially, I set the business up in 2016 to fill this big gap in the recruitment industry. I’d had a somewhat chance meeting with this fantastic lady who was working at one of the investment banks down at Canary Wharf and very involved with their return to work programme. I hadn’t really heard of this concept before, but was intrigued to know more about it, it was a three month internship to provide a low restructure for the employer to bring someone back who’d had a career gap and get to see them work in a real business situation, and hopefully then transition them into a permanent role.

I had lots of questions for her about this programme, and one of them was, “How many applications do you get for your programme and how many places do you have?” When she said to me that they had about 400 applications for 20 places, I was absolutely gobsmacked. I couldn’t believe it. I thought, “Who are all these people trying to get back to work?” Actually having been a headhunter for many, many years and having been asked by my clients, all the time, “How can you help us reach more female candidates?” and not really having a very good answer, I was just really intrigued to know more, and I thought, “Well, who’s helping the 380 that aren’t getting on this programme?” I took the view that there must be lots of employers who would love to do the same thing and reach this talent pool, but just didn’t have the resources or the know-how of a big investment bank. That was really where the idea for the business started.

Since then we’ve built our candidate population. We’ve built up our fantastic client base to include big FTSE 100 companies to small, privately owned businesses and everything in between. We’re now very focused placing people back into work, either as part of a sort of return to work programme where that might be necessary, or, actually, the majority of what we now do is really putting our candidates, the vast majority of whom are absolutely desk ready, back into permanent roles in the financial services sector.

Julia: Wonderful. I’m sure there are many considerations around the return to work concept, if you like, that we’ll certainly pick into in a second. Thanks very much indeed. Reggie, now let me turn to you. What do you focus on at the moment?

Reggie: Right now, I’m focusing a lot on my youth mentoring, aside from the work that I do in my 9-5. I do some youth mentoring for a youth group in East London, and that’s essentially to help young people who are from an underrepresented background and from a socially challenged background become the most competitive candidate they can be when they go to look for internships and placements. That takes up a lot of my time. In work, I am also the lead mentor for the Social Economic Mobility Committee, which is in partnership with the ethnicity stream as well for Legal and General Investment Management. That is, again, helping undergraduates from socially challenged backgrounds become the most competitive candidate that they can be.

Along with that, I’m also chairing the ACCA, undergraduates from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, helping them to give the skills and the tips and tricks that they need, so that when they go into a place of work, they don’t have the same mistakes that I did, or other people had, along the way. These three streams are keeping me quite busy.

Julia: Let’s start with your story about how you came into the City. Tell us about that.

Reggie: Rewinding the clock, I actually used to play football at quite a high level, I played football at youth professional level and then youth semi-professional level. When I hit 17, I decided that I didn’t want to play football anymore. That was tough for me, because I never really studied from 0-17, I didn’t really know where I would go. I didn’t know where my academic strengths were, whether they were in literacy, or maths or science. So when I decided to hang up my boots, as it were, I sat down and said, “What am I going to do?” That’s when the idea came, because I knew that I wanted to become wealthy one day and that was my end goal, but growing up in an environment I grew up, I didn’t know how people amassed their wealth, I decided to research into Google wealthiest areas in London and took the train to Kensington and Chelsea and started knocking people’s doors and asking them, “What skills do you have to amass your wealth?

Long story short, I met Quintin Price, who was, at the time, head of Alpha Strategies at BlackRock. Him and his wife opened the door, invited me in, and they’ve been guiding me since the day I knocked on their door, which was in 2014. They invited me to BlackRock the week after, and then from there, they encouraged me to go to university. I went, and then I started to apply for internships and I started to be accepted onto internships. I graduated in 2017 with a 2:1 in Economics, completing five internships across the City, and now work in finance today. That’s a very long story short.

Julia: Amazing. And when you went on that journey, is there anything that surprised you when you started to come into the City and through some of those internships when you went, “Actually, this isn’t what I expected at all”?

Reggie: It was a real culture shock and it was a real difference to what I was used to. I remember when I first went to BlackRock, I went with my tie, which was really short, because I didn’t know how to wear a tie, so my tie was very short, and I wore this Nike man bag, and everything was just wrong with the way I was dressed, with the way I was speaking, everything was just wrong. So the biggest challenge for me was just adapting to life in the City, because no-one had ever taught me how to dress, no-one had ever taught me how to wear a tie or what to say or what not to say. That was the biggest thing, just navigating your way through the City, what you can/can’t do.

I was fortunate, because I had Quintin and I had another person called Nathan who was like a peer mentor for me. He was at BlackRock, and he was also from West London, he was there to guide me through that as well. So I felt reassured, but when you were there with other candidates who are of excellence, it is quite intimidating, because they somehow already know what to do, what to say, how to wear their tie, whereas you’re there and you’re adjusting your tie in the toilet because you know that it’s too short now.

Julia: That’s true. When you talk about candidates of excellence, you are certainly in that field. Then you went in to do all these internships as well, and I’m really fascinated what the most valuable learning from that experience has been.

Reggie: You’ve just touched on it now, actually. The most valuable lesson I learned from my internships were that 1) I did belong there and I was good enough to be there, because I used to play myself down a lot, when I went to intern at these places, I looked around and there weren’t many people that looked like me, but there also weren’t many people that were from the same background as me either. I grew up in a council estate in East London. I grew up with a single parent household and didn’t have much money growing up. When you speak to the people that you’re working with, they went to private school, they probably lived with both parents, they went on ski trips and stuff like that. These are things that you just learn when you’re speaking to them on a day-to-day basis.

So the biggest difference for me was being able to adapt and work with them, because when they say all of these things, in your head, it’s like, “Oh, these guys are better than I am,” but deep down, you are as good as them because you’ve gone through the same process as them, you’ve done the same tests as them, you’ve been interviewed by the same colleagues as them, so you are good enough to be there. I had to learn that, because even when I got projects and things to do, if someone that went to Cambridge gave an idea, my mindset was, “He goes to Cambridge, so he must be right and my idea must not be right.” I just had to train my mind to say that I am good enough to be here. It took a bit of a while. It took about a year and a bit, so I was held back quite a bit on my internships and stuff. But I guess it’s all worked out well now.

Julia: Is that part of the advice you also give when you’re mentoring as well.

Reggie: Definitely. One of the biggest pieces of advice I give is “you are good enough to be there”, because it’s almost like imposter syndrome. People sometimes think, “Oh, what if people find out this about me and that about me?” I always tell them, “Embrace your story, and embrace where you came from and embrace where you are now,” because when I was in front of Managing Directors, they wanted to know more about me, as opposed to what I thought about myself. They thrived off the fact that I didn’t go to a Russell Group university, and they thrived off the fact that I came from a different background to everyone else.

I tell them to embrace that and to understand that you are good enough to be there and it’s not about what you came from or your ethnicity per se, it’s more about how well can you do that job. The more you focus on that, the less you focus on other things, and you’ll be able to eradicate the things that don’t mean anything in front of the employers and the people that you’re working with. Definitely, that’s one of the biggest pieces of advice that I’d give.

Julia: I think this whole thing about,  embrace your difference. You know, everybody imagines that the world of the City is so homogenous in some ways, but, actually, what we need now more than anything else is we need difference and we need people who don’t come from the same career paths or educational models as well. Dominie, let me bring you in here. Your focus is on professionals who want to relaunch their careers. What do you mean by relaunch? Can we pick away at that a bit more?

Dominie: There was a piece of research that was done a couple of years ago now by PWC on the topic of women returners, and they identified that there are 427,000 professional women currently on a career break who will return to work. When we talk about relaunch, I often get asked actually by clients, “So, tell me, what’s a typical returner?” The reality is there isn’t a typical returner, everyone has a different story. In general, these are people who’ve had a corporate career. The vast majority of our candidates have got more than 10 years experience before they’ve gone and done something else. And the something else can be to take time out to raise a family, to look after elderly parents, but, sometimes, whilst they’re doing that, they’re also being entrepreneurs, launching a business, helping a friend with a startup, doing a finance role, consulting somewhere, travel, doing charity work, being Head of the PTA, all sorts of interesting stuff, but they’ve got to a point now where they are ready to relaunch a corporate career.

One of the common things that I hear from them is, you know, when I say, “What do you want to do?” Invariably, I get the answer that, “I want to do interesting and challenging work, but the really key thing is I want to be part of a team again.” This is really what we mean by relaunch. It’s getting back into a corporate career.

Julia: When they come talk to you, do they have very specific views in mind about how the world of financial services might have shifted, or, at the other end of the spectrum, is it, “I know what the City does”?

Dominie: It really varies. Someone who’s been out for, perhaps, 18 months, two years, or even five years, but has been an entrepreneur and launched a fintech business or something like that is obviously a different kettle of fish from someone who might, perhaps one might assume as a returner as someone who’s been out just raising a family for quite a long time.

I remember when I was doing my research at the early stages before launching the business, and I remember speaking to one City Grandee who said to me, you know, “Gosh, do you really think these women are going to want to go back to the City? You know, it’s very competitive and an aggressive environment,” and all this kind of stuff. Actually, that turned out to be complete nonsense, because, since we launched our business, we’ve now got over 2500 candidates who’ve registered with us, and I really do think that we are just at the tip of the iceberg, scratching the surface of who is out there.

I’ve worked in the city for 20 years and I’ve loved it. You’ve got some incredibly smart, engaging, funny people who work here, and it can be incredibly exciting and thrilling career. I think if you’ve come from that background and you’ve done, you know, 10, 15, 20 years in that environment, that’s what you know and, probably, that’s what you love, and there are certainly lots of women. We do actually work with some men as well. I mean, the vast majority of candidates we work with are women, but they want to get back to it.

Julia: When you’re thinking about relaunching back into an industry, at one end of the spectrum you’ve got fintech innovation. The sharp end of data and management, and algorithms, AI and cyber etc. At the other end, arguably, the more traditional investment management institution investment end. What advice do you give those thinking about relaunching back into the industry about keeping current on top of trends?

Dominie: I think the first thing to think about is, do your research. If you have been out for a period of time, re-engage with your professional network. You’d be amazed at how many people I’m sure will be only too happy to help if you call them up and say, “Look, I’m thinking about coming back to work. I’m just keen to do my research and find out, what are the trends, what’s keeping people awake at night, what’s going on? Offering to take someone out for a cup of coffee. Ninety nine times out of a hundred, people will be only too happy to help.

Start with research. One of the key things as well, I think, which is a great place to start with that, is on social media. If you’re not on Twitter, get on Twitter. It’s a great way of kind of curating a library of content that’s very relevant to your industry, find out who the thought leaders are and what they’re saying about your sector. The same is true of LinkedIn. If you’re not on LinkedIn, make sure your profile is up to date. Start building your connections and re-engage with your professional network.

Julia: One of the things I always think about is, you’re talking about social media and how the world of work has changed so dynamically recently, I worry and think quite a lot about how organisations need to adapt to attract young talent as well. Reggie, I’m really keen to hear your thoughts on what organisations need to do to attract and motivate young talent into the industry.

Reggie: I hear a lot of institutions saying that they want to attract a wide range of talent, a wide diversity of talent, and one thing that I see in that a lot of organisations aren’t doing at the moment is they’re not casting the net far enough and wide enough to attract that talent. What I mean by that is, if you go online and you look at some of the top organisations that graduates are really striving to work for, they still have things like “state your university” and then, “what did you get for … how many UCAS points do you have”, or “state what grade you’ve got at GCSE” etcetera etcetera.

Someone like me who, I’m fortunate enough to be in this position now because I had to work really hard, but I started working hard at 17 when I decided to stop playing football. A-Levels for me, I didn’t really do them. GCSEs, I didn’t really do them. So, if that criteria still applied to me, then I, ideally, shouldn’t be where I am today, because then I wouldn’t be able to apply for it, because I don’t hit the benchmark for UCAS or the benchmark for GCSEs. I just feel like some organisations, if you do want to attract talent, some people do peak later on in their lives than other people, some people might have been facing challenges when they were at school or college, or might have suffered a bereavement, or different things along the way that have impeded them to excel to their full potential.

If these organisations want to attract talent, then one thing they can do is disregard or show less of an emphasis on the grading criteria before university, and use university as a time to really say, “Okay, what did you do at university? What did you get involved in at university? What grade did you get in your first year, second year and your third year?” Use university as the main criteria, as opposed to tracking back all those times before. Another thing is they can cast their nets further down Russell Group Universities as well, because, again, if you look at it, a lot of the people that I interned with went to Cambridge, Oxford, LSE or Durham, and I’d argue these people are really intelligent and they’re really bright, however, you have got other bright candidates that do go to non-Russell Group universities, and that diversity of thought and that diversity of thinking can really help an organisation to grow as well.

I feel like in order to attract the best talent, cast the net further, wider, and ensure that you’re giving an opportunity to those that not only didn’t go to Russell Group universities, but also those that may have had a later start in their academic career as well.

Julia: Everybody evolves at different paces, and I think that’s the interesting thing also about returners as well, which is everybody’s got different lifelong learning or life career roads as well. Thinking about  expectations and demands of organisational structures, because taking a little bit of time out of an organisation, things might’ve radically changed. How are organisational cultures and structures changing?

Dominie: I definitely do think that more and more companies that can adopt flexible working strategies are going to attract more diverse talent. I’m not talking just specifically about senior female talent. This is the direction of travel and is going to be the future of work, I went to an event recently, actually, on the topic of the future of work, and there was a fascinating professor there, who was professor of intergenerational studies, and she talked about the Generation Z’ers in the workplace now who will be looking to retire, much, much later – in their late 70s or 80s, and the idea that they’re going to come in and have a kind of very linear career path for all of that time is not right.

They are going to have very varied, interesting careers that are transitioning all the time with, probably, quite significant chunks of time out. If you’re a man, the idea that you’re not going to take a year’s paternity leave, of course, if that’s what you want to do, and people will take sabbaticals, so on and so forth. So I think the workplaces that can adapt and evolve to accommodate these issues will be the ones that attract the very best talent.

Julia: It’s interesting, because I think I heard somewhere that five different generations now work in the City, so the organisations need to think very differently about how do they embrace that talent all the way through. You were talking about sort of flexible working. How do we encourage more men to take on flexible working?

Dominie: I think it’s really interesting. I think what organisations need to really ensure is that their own internal policies are in line with their diversity narratives. It’s one thing to talk about wanting to create a diverse workforce and wanting to make sure that there’s flexible working and all of this kind of stuff, even just simple things, like making sure that if you have an enhanced maternity pay policy, you also have an enhanced paternity pay policy, because, sometimes, you can have a message that is saying one thing, but an internal message that is conflicting against that, so I think making sure that those sort of procedures and policies that are in line and they’re the same for everyone is really a key part of that.

Julia: When we think about the candidate mix, there’s a real focus on bringing more young ethnic minority talent into the City as well. Reggie as a young black man in the City as well, and thinking on your career path, but also your mentoring as well and how you help LGIM sort of address some of this as well, I suppose two questions, really: To what degree do you personally feel compelled to be a role model and a champion, and what does that layer to your feet in many ways? And then, also, how do you help organisations think very differently about appealing to ethnic minority talent?

Reggie: Well, I feel like it’s almost encumbered on me to do it because I had an experience, and I didn’t really think too much of it when I was in at a time, but one of my internships when I applied, I fortunately got it. They gave us the stats when we first started, and they said, “Congratulations to everyone here in this room, it was across EMEA and congratulations to the 115 of you that are on this internship.” I said, “Great, I’m part of the 115.” Then towards the end of the internship, we all came together again and everyone was in a room, and I looked around and there was only three black people. If there was 9,000 applicants, that’s what they said, “We got 9,000 applicants and 115 of you got it, congrats.” So out of the 9,000, only 115 of us got it, only three black people.

It could be down to various different reasons, and I’m not here to say what the reasons are etc, but when I was in that room, I said to myself, “If there are people of ethnic minority that are applying to these internships, which are really hyper competitive, then I feel like I need to be that person to just give them that helping, because I’ve obviously done something right for me to be here.” I feel like there are other bright people and other people that do want to be in that environment. If I give them the tips and tricks that I’ve learned and that can aid them, then that will make a world of difference.

I try to look at myself as that role model for them to say, you know, “If I can do it, then you can do it. And these are the things I did in order for me to achieve it.” That’s something that I try to do. As Dominie has mentioned, my LinkedIn is always open for all young talent. I have this rule whereby I will always reply to someone that is in university, because I want to give them that best hand, and it’s not a surprise that a lot of these messages are coming from ethnic minority people, because they want someone to look at and say, you know, “If he can do it, then I can do it.”

Julia: A true role model in every sense as well. When you’re working with some of these working groups like the ACCA, Emerging Talent as well, I mean, we’ve talked about reaching further, are there any other considerations that organisations should take on board if you particularly want to appeal to ethnic minority groups?

Reggie: When I do talks for corporate institutions, I always say “provide visibility”. One thing that is missing is that people from an ethnic minority background do not have the visibility for them to say, “I can achieve this or I can achieve that.” For instance, if you are going to apply for an internship or whatever, if you look at a marketing scheme, a lot of the people on there are probably male and are probably white. If you come from a background like that, you might say, “Okay, am I going to feel comfortable in this place? Am I going to feel this? Am I going to feel that?” Some of the thoughts that might come to mind might not even make sense at the time, but these are things that still pop into your mind. So I will just say, for corporate institutions, provide that visibility for these students and show them that you don’t have to be of this background or that background to be here.

If you’re good enough and you have the talent, then you can, and that stems from going to schools, colleges, universities and saying, “Hey, we hire people from all backgrounds. You don’t have to be just a white male, or white female, or a black person or whatever. If you’re good enough then you can.” That visibility there and just going there and saying that to them will open the minds of these people to say, “Okay, scrap what I thought before, I am good enough, so I’m going to apply and I’m going to make sure that I can work here in the future.” It’s just about providing that visibility, which is what I drum in when I go to these corporate institutions.

Julia: That’s a great moment to just pause the show for a second, as we turn to Robert and Cynthia, who are going to provide some research to support today’s discussion.

Robert: Reggie’s story is a clear example of social mobility in action, but the 2018 City of London Social Mobility Employer Index highlights some of the challenges to job access and retention faced by those from underrepresented socioeconomic backgrounds. The survey collected submissions from 106 employers across 18 sectors collectively employing over one million people.

Cynthia: The employee survey, which from part of that index found that those who identified as working class were less likely to think their organisation is open to all class backgrounds, to discuss their class background, or to feel that the senior leadership wants to diversify the class backgrounds of their organisation staff.

Robert: KPMG came out top of the survey. The firm had been collecting comprehensive socioeconomic background data on its applicants and hires and wider workforce since 2014. KPMG has also commissioned internal research to determine how gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic background affects employees progression in the firm. It also drew on the latest research and guidance across sectors to identify existing best practises. They used this data to track both the impact of their efforts to increase the diversity of people joining the firm, and how the makeup of the organisation is changing.

Cynthia: New technologies and changing social values mean that the nature of work is constantly changing. The 2018 article, titled ‘15 Mind Blowing Stats About the Future of Work’ suggested some of the ways the workplace will change. Here are some of the highlights. 65% of children entering primary school will hold jobs that currently don’t exist. Artificial intelligence could double annual economic growth rates by 2035 by changing the nature of work and creating a new relationship between humans and machines. Besides being more efficient, tomorrow’s workforce will be even more diverse than today’s in terms of gender, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual preference and identification, and perhaps even by other characteristics we don’t currently know about.

Julia: Thanks, Cynthia and Robert. The links to the research can be found on our website, divercitypodcast.com. That’s where you can find all our episodes and sign up for early notifications of future recordings. Please do follow us on Twitter @divercitypod, and DiverCity Podcast is available on BrightTALK and all good podcast channels. We’d love a rating because it all helps to promote the show. 

One of the things we think a lot about, actually, I talk about it a lot when I’m giving keynote speeches, is about asking more of the recruitment process, the recruitment models to find talent as well. Dominie, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what works and what could be improved.

Dominie: When anybody is looking for a new role, there are certain traditional paths by which they would do that, and if you’re thinking about the mid and senior level experience to high, it’s very often through executive search companies. Now, executive search companies are really set up to find people who are already in a role and put them in another similar role. They’re not really set up to deal with candidates who are just calling them off the street, if you like. It’s just not their model. Then you’ve got recruitment agencies more at the volume end, and, very often, that’s a very competitive process, where a company will ask three companies, three recruitment agencies to work on a roll, and the company that will win the fee will be the one that gets the sort of squarest peg candidate for the square hole in the quickest timeframe.

Then you’ve got the jobs boards now, where even lots of senior roles are advertised online. These receive hundreds of applications and need to be whittled down into a manageable number by a human being, and the algorithms that do that sort of filtering will, again, sort of filter you out if you have a nonlinear career path or a CV very often with gaps in it.

Julia: Does that play into what Reggie was saying earlier about, actually if you don’t have that traditional career journey that you might be missed by the algos?

Dominie: Absolutely, exactly. Really, one of the, I call it the sort of industrialisation of the recruitment process, if you like, really since the advent of things like LinkedIn, and how recruitment has really come down to, how can you find the closest fit candidate in the quickest timeframe at the lowest cost? That really is all about an industry that’s set up to help companies hire people that look very like the people that they’ve already got.

I think to really understand what the recruitment industry is good at and what it’s not so good at is really important for those organisations that are getting a bit frustrated thinking, “Gosh, you know, we’re doing all of these things, we’ve got all of these initiatives to try and increase the diversity of our workforce, but it’s just not working. And we’re going out to all the firms that we use, you know, all the recruitment firms and saying to them, ‘Please, help make sure we get more women on short lists.'”

Julia: So what needs to change?

Dominie: I think it’s about looking at new recruitment strategies and, we often obviously hear companies all the time saying, “We’d love to hire more women. There just really aren’t any, and it’s a real challenge to get females onto shortlists.” and at the same time, you’ve got these hundreds, if not thousands of women going, “Well hang on a minute, I’m over here.” But the system, the industry that would usually connect them just wasn’t built for these women who’ve had great careers, taken a break, gone and done something else, and now want to come back again. And so It’s a challenge.

Julia: I imagine it’s probably incentivisation of how people get remunerated in that journey as well, which I’d love to get into. Sadly, we just don’t have time to do.

Dominie: Yes

Julia: But it’s about alignment with the ultimate objective as well. Reggie, let me just get you in for final thoughts really, about the City and its appeal. I imagine a lot of people, particularly those you mentor and, as you say, were looking further and wider, preconceptions about what the industry really means. What would your thoughts be on that?

Reggie: Well, the City is a great place  if you’re not sure about what you actually want to do. I felt like the City offers a great dynamic of things that you can get involved in. It’s not just about number crunching, and picking what stocks to invest in, and what fixed income to invest in. It’s so much greater than that, I’m in client business and investments, which is, on paper, the traditional thing that people that go into investment management or banking go into, but there’s a wide range of different things.

If you’re good at marketing, investment management firms and investment banking firms need a marketing division. They need digital marketers. They need people that work in communications. If you’re more middle office and you’re quite a strategic thinker, then you can go into, say, operations. If you’re a tech guru, you can get into technology and the hard drive fixing and soft drive stuff. There’s just so many different things that you can actually do in the City. It’s not just number crunching and looking at graphs, but a wide range of different things.

Julia: These are very exciting times, and we really encourage everything that you’re doing. I think, Reggie, you are an amazing role model for young talent coming into the City. It’s been great to have you on the show, thank you.

Reggie: Thank you.

Julia: Dominie, to reach out to these returners. I wish you every success. Thanks both for coming on.

Dominie: Thank you, Julia.

Kieron: This episode of the DiverCity Podcast was produced by me, Kieron Yates, on behalf of Julia Streets Productions. Thanks to Cynthia Akinsanya and Robert Pinto-Fernandes for their insights. You can find out more about the guests on this week’s show on our website, divercitypodcast.com. Whilst you are there, you can also sign up to our newsletter for all our latest updates.

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