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Series Six, Episode Two: The voices of new and rising talent – Recorded live at Sibos 2019

Recorded live on ‘Talent Thursday’ at the 2019 global Sibos conference in London, our host Julia Streets is joined by Oxford University PhD Student Kristina Kämpfer, outlining the findings of her diversity research paper, sponsored by the SWIFT Institute. Erin Thornton, Coordinator of the SWIFT Diversity and Inclusion Network and the Sibos STAR Scholarship Programme, explains the importance of sponsoring rising female talent and Julia talks to Carmen Arias González, Laurissa Wiitala and Ibiyemi Okuneye of the cohort. Together they explore what rising talent requires from employers in order to attract, retain and support them on their career journeys. Finally, Rebecca Sterling and Jean-Philippe Richard-Charman, competitors in the SWIFT Institute student challenge, discuss what entering talent demands of financial services organisations and how firms and institutions can engage with each other.

Kristina Kämpfer

Kristina Kämpfer is a doctoral candidate at the University of Oxford. Her research explores women’s work experience in finance, in particular in the aftermath of the Financial Crisis of 2007 – 2009. In her doctoral thesis, Kristina seeks to draw a gender sensitive map of the financial centres of Frankfurt and London. As the crisis reignited the debate on gender inequality in finance, the unchanged discrimination against women accessing the bodies of financial decision-making poses not only a democratic problem but also perpetuates social injustice. Scrutinising this status quo, the analysis focuses on the participation and the representation of women in finance.

Kristina holds an MSt in Women’s Studies from the University of Oxford (Distinction), an MA in Political Theory from Goethe University, Frankfurt, and a BA in Political Science from Free University Berlin. Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked for a technology start-up in London and was also engaged in the 2017 German federal elections, assisting the management of a digital campaigning team in Berlin. Kristina has a long-standing political experience, published on issues relating to feminism and instructed educational seminars on women’s role in politics in Germany.

You can follow Kristina on Twitter @chruesi.

Erin Thornton

Erin Thornton is the coordinator of SWIFT’s diversity and inclusion grass roots network. She has been instrumental in designing and delivering the first STAR Scholarship programme at Sibos 2019. She has been working for SWIFT in innovation and data analysis for the last three years, and she now leads a team of data analysts in the financial crime compliance area. Prior to this Erin worked at the Foreign Office on a range of policy and technical areas. Her interest in diversity and inclusion reaches back to her undergraduate degree where she studied philosophy, with a particular interest in ethics, and diversity has continued to be a thread throughout her professional career.

You can follow SWIFT on Twitter at @swiftcommunity.

Carmen Arias González, Global Cash Management, Banco Santander CIB

Carmen Arias González

Carmen Arias González is part of the Global Cash Management department at Banco Santander CIB, collaborating with international payment solutions since 2015, serving Corporate and Financial Institutional clients. Nowadays Carmen leads a transformation initiative related with global transaction banking that includes multiple countries, payment instruments, innovation and local and international market practices.

Her goal is to lead strategic projects within the financial world, combining the experience of a solid career with knowledge and specialisation in new technologies that are increasingly breaking barriers, meeting current and future customer needs.

You can follow Santander on Twitter @bancosantander.

Laurissa Wiitala

Laurissa Wiitala is currently the Senior Manager of Product Development in Global Solutions at Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), based in Toronto. She is passionate about international trade finance and supporting businesses reach a global presence through innovative, client-centric, and digitally-enabled solutions. She has a background in operational team management, process efficiency, transformation implementation that underpin her ability to deliver concentrated value for clients and manage through change. Laurissa is fueled by continuous learning, coaching teams, and mentoring individuals to help take charge in building meaningful careers. She holds of Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Ontario based in London, Ontario.

You can follow RBC on Twitter @RBC.

Ibiyemi Okuneye

Ibiyemi is responsible for Trade Strategy, Supply Chain Finance and Ecosystem Initiatives for West Africa. She is a member of the Trade Management Team for Africa and Middle East and of the Diversity & Inclusion Council for Corporate and Institutional Banking, SCB Nigeria.

Her two decades of experience with different institutions cuts across Corporate and Commercial Banking, Domestic and International Operations, Project Management and Transaction Banking. Previously the Sales Head for different client segments including International Corporates, Local Corporates, Commodities Traders and Agric Businesses; also led Correspondent Banking and Trade Products Teams. She holds a BSc in Accounting and MBA from Warwick Business School, UK. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a Certified Project Manager.

You can follow Standard Chartered on Twitter @StanChart.

Rebecca Sterling

Rebecca Sterling is a third year student studying a BSc Banking and International Finance degree at City University, London. When she doesn’t have her head in books, she enjoys and attends industry insight days. Rebecca took part in a leadership program, has a professional mentor and acted as a student Ambassador representing her University. Rebecca is currently an Up Reach Associate working with the charity organisation that aids students from less advantaged backgrounds to reach their full career potential.

Jean-Philippe Richard-Charman

Jean-Philippe Richard-Charman, Henley Business School MBA Graduate, transitioning from the hospitality industry, and undertaking different side hustles, with the most recent related to using AI to detect and prevent fraud in Instant Payments.

Series Six, Episode Two Transcript

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

Today’s episode is recorded live at the Sibos conference in London, where a record number of financial services and banking delegates from around the world have converged here at the ExCeL Centre. From the smallest early stage fintech firms to some of the largest financial institutions, more than 11,000 visitors have descended upon Sibos, the annual conference organised by SWIFT. As you’ll see from the extensive list of nearly 100 leaders and luminaries interviewed on the podcast series, we are committed to talking about the commercial impact that diversity and inclusion has had on organisational performance.

However, one piece that has been missing has been to hear the voices of young and rising talent, talent that is keen to enter the industry and talent that is keen to rise through the ranks to become the next wave, the next generation of our senior leaders. What do they need from the industry? What must firms do to attract and retain them? In this episode we’ll be hearing from students considering entering the weird and wonderful world of banking and financial services and of our rising talent, what do they see as they look ahead in their career journeys? Also, what does the academic research tell us? We’ll be interviewing a leading academic from Oxford University to present her diversity paper sponsored by the SWIFT Institute. This episode is recorded on a full day of programming dedicated to and appropriately named Talent Thursday.

The SWIFT Institute supports a wide range of research and I’m delighted to be joined by Kristina Kämpfer, who is a PhD student at Oxford University. Here presenting her research, how to secure greater gender diversity among senior management in the finance industry. Kristina, it’s wonderful to see you today.

Kristina: Thank you so much for having me, Julia.

Julia: Tell us about the premise of the research and how you went about it.

Kristina: I think what’s quite interesting, hopefully interesting, about our research is that it is interdisciplinary. We’re borrowing from economic geography and from gender and cultural studies, which I think is quite different to a lot of research that has been done. I think in the aftermath of the crisis, a lot of research centred around the business case of diversity so that obviously mixed teams perform better, the decision making is better, but then there is still a question at the end, if they perform better and if they bring better results, why is there still this massive lack of gender diversity, or diversity in general? That’s where we started, we really wanted to figure out why, despite the empirically proven business case, is there not greater diversity in particular in the finance industry?

Julia: I’m really keen to hear what you found. Talk us through some of your findings.

Kristina: There are three key findings that I wish to speak about, that I think are very important. The first one is that despite the finance industry being a global one, we actually found with the research that we conducted, both in various German cities, primarily Frankfurt, and London and at different companies, British companies, German companies and American companies, that they’re quite different. They operate quite differently, the practises are quite different, particularly in the case of diversity, the understandings of diversity are very different and you can clearly see that financial companies, despite operating globally are embedded within a particular society or cultural context and that affects them very strongly.

Julia: Tell me about the sample size.

Kristina: We spoke to 47 people in the UK and in Germany. We spoke to asset managers, banks and insurance and in addition to that, we spoke to a number of external stakeholders, diversity specialists and executive search firms and recruiters.

Julia: Great. So the first one really was about the international disparity, if you want to call it that. The second key finding you found?

Kristina: The biggest barrier according to our research was actually the culture. If culture within an organisation is dominated by male values, then it’s really difficult for women to succeed. It’s also difficult for any single or even some of diversity initiatives to be successful because of the larger scheme, or the larger scope of things. It’s just not supportive of that greater diversity.

You can put a woman’s network into play or you can start mentoring programmes, but that’s not really going to trickle down or have any clear success according to our research that we’ve done.

Julia: It’s interesting the whole question about diversity and particularly the impact of cultural awareness to drive change in that area. I know that certainly the regulators for example, over in the UK are looking at that and they’re thinking about the senior management regime and they’re thinking about the culpability of senior management on the culture of their organisation as well. Do you get a feeling that other organisations are taking it seriously in other regions?

Kristina: We primarily compared Germany and the UK and I think for me being German, it was quite sad to say how it’s almost a very normative statement, but there’s a big lack of awareness in Germany when it comes to diversity, it was interesting to see how the British companies understood themselves as global companies and the German companies were German at their core, which trickles down or is connected to a lot of factors, the importance of finance greater in London than it is in Germany, but also how they operate, that Frankfurt is just a very small financial centre in comparison to London, but that’s interesting in the wake of Brexit.

My theory is its some kind of competitive advantage for London because of its very international work environment and people who are diverse, or who are different, might actually feel more welcome to work in London or for a British company then actually going to Frankfurt. I think that is a really, really interesting one that as far as I can see, has not been explored at all in any of the conversation about where do companies move after Brexit, if they moved to mainland Europe.

Julia: Of course a lot of those German companies are global players as well. There’s an interesting interplay between your domestic attitude versus international attitude as well. Very interesting. What other findings did you have?

Kristina: Another finding that I found really interesting was that a lot of our interview partners were part of internal resistance to gender diversity or efforts. This internal resistance stems in particular from men who feel neglected and who think that they’re now losing out, so to say, that they have no chance of being promoted anymore. I think that is a super interesting one because if you look at it from the outside, which I do as a researcher, I’m not working for any financial company. If you look at the numbers, you can clearly see that there’s such a strong lack of diversity.

It’s not my quote, but I came across it recently and it really got stuck in my head that it’s so interesting how gender, or efforts to improve gender equality are experienced, are felt by men as if they were unjust. That’s something that I find very interesting and it highlights that feminism or gender diversity in general, is not only something that is up to women, it needs to include men because the large share of change probably has to happen to men rather than to women. I think that was a really interesting one because the numbers just do not hold true. If you say that there’s a discrimination of men, it’s not if you look at the numbers in particular in senior management, which was obviously our case study.

Julia: It’s interesting when you think about those organisations that pay particular attention to their balance networks rather than their gender networks seem to be, it’s just a feeling, I’m not an academic like you, but it feels like they are getting greater impetus and greater acceleration because they’re taking both genders on that journey.

Kristina: 100%. And obviously diversity is about a lot more than just gender. It intersects with a lot of other things and I think once you start acknowledging that, you will see that you have to go beyond gender and also maybe beyond even men and women because obviously that might also be a reductive binary to some people. I don’t want to ignore that part. It’s a tricky conversation and it is a conversation at the end. It’s not a rule book, it’s a conversation and I think that’s something that is challenging but is also a great chance, but it’s an uncomfortable conversation and a lot of people, in particular men from my experience, don’t want to have it.

One interesting thing and it’s just an anecdote, is that I contacted an equal number of men and women from my research and actually two thirds of my interview partners were female. So women are more inclined to speak about it, which is great but actually I think the lack of awareness amongst men, I’m just assuming that it might be the case. It’s a bit concerning because they are still the ones who hold power in most organisations, in particular in finance.

Julia: It’s clearly a conversation that we need to continue to have and to keep that forward and also encourage men into that conversation which is really important. Kristina, I know you’ve got an incredibly busy day here. We’re here on Talent Thursday as part of Sibos, you’re presenting today your findings on the stage, congratulations on that. How do we find your research?

Kristina: We will publish a working paper together with the SWIFT Institute, which should come out at the end of the year, November and that will be available online for everyone to look into, that’s how you can find our research.

Julia: Wonderful and we’ll be sure to promote it. Kristina, thank you for joining us.

Kristina: Thank you for having me.

Julia: During my time here at the 2019 Sibos conference, I’ve been honoured to be a mentor of SWIFT’s STAR Scholarship Programme. To tell us more about it, I caught up with Erin Thornton of SWIFT. She’s a Data Analyst Chapter Lead, essentially a manager, in the world of agile software development. She’s also the coordinator of Swift’s Grassroots Diversity and Inclusion Network. Erin, tell us about the programme.

Erin: The Sibos STAR Scholarship launched this year. We asked 30 banks to nominate high potential mid-career women, women who we hope to see in senior management in the future. We were really overwhelmed by the response from the banks. Part of the programme is to set up mentoring lunches with senior leaders from across the financial sector and we were oversubscribed, which is a wonderful position to be in.

Julia: I can’t help but ask the question about why does it matter? Why now? I mean, we were seeing a change and a shift in diversity as many would argue, why does it matter?

Erin: We know that it’s really important to get to over 30%, a critical mass of diverse thinkers and people from diverse backgrounds into senior management. That’s really so that we realise the full benefits of diversity and diverse decision-making in senior leadership.

Julia: I’m intrigued, so how has the response been?

Erin: It’s been absolutely incredible. We’ve had a huge response from the banks that we asked. They’ve put forward extremely competent and very impressive women who have joined the programme and together they’ve knitted into a real cadre, sharing experiences, sharing tips and building that professional network that they will need to get through to their full potential.

Julia: Which is amazing and of course on Monday morning to kick off Sibos, it was such a pleasure to go to the London Stock Exchange and ring the bell to open the markets. I think that sends a massive message about how important this programme is. Erin, thank you so much for joining us.

Erin: Thank you.

Julia: What of the cohort themselves? Honestly, I wish I could have invited them all on the show, but time would simply not allow but I am delighted to be joined by three of them: Carmen Arias from Santander CIB, Laurissa Wiitala of Royal Bank of Canada and Ibiyemi Okuneye from Standard Chartered. Before we start our discussion today, I must stress to all our listeners that these ladies are not speaking on behalf of their respective organisations, their opinions are very much their own.

Julia: Welcome, welcome to all of you. You’ve had an incredibly busy conference. I’m delighted you could join me today. You’re here all thinking about your careers. You look around the industry as well and it strikes me that the fight for talent is particularly fierce. Carmen, let me come to you first of all. What can organisations do to retain talent?

Carmen: I think here the key is the stimulation. Apart from the salary which should be competitive, there are a lot of things that you can invest in your employees. First of all, you have to listen to them, their needs, you have to give them flexibility in their environment. Also their potential, their own skills. Not everybody has the same skills, so you have to look at their potential, give them ownership of themselves.

Julia: Laurissa, would you add anything to that? Is there anything on your mind?

Laurissa: It’s a great question. I think the one thing I would add is the need to strengthen and de-stigmatise exit and re-entry programmes within the organisation. Women in particular are more subjected to career pauses, typically for having children or taking care of ageing parents. Whilst we need to shift the responsibility to both men and women, having robust exit and re-entry programmes will ensure that everyone feels that they can come back and maintain their career fast tracks. I think that making sure that those are top of mind are really key.

Julia: And Ibiyemi?

Ibiyemi: I think the organisations that will be winners in these times are actually the organisations that look at talent and focus on their development differently. Organisations need to begin to look at what’s important to this talent. They need to be able to see that not many people want to focus on linear career paths anymore. The future of the workforce today, they want to look at different skills, they want to look at digital, they want to look at design, they want to look at trying their hands at different things. I think the organisation that take that into consideration will be the organisations that will win in the future.

Julia: Some would argue that the pace of change for equality is too slow, it is frankly too slow in the industry. As you look at your career journeys ahead, where do you see the barriers further down the track and Laurissa you were talking there about flexible working and needing models. Any other barriers you can see that the organisations should focus on?

Laurissa: Yeah, it’s a great question and it’s a tough one. I think one thing I’ve picked up on here at Sibos this week has been the discussion around how we want to be running businesses with the customer in the centre. How I see that is we’re running human-centric businesses. When I think of putting the human at the middle, I think of rethinking what a leader looks like. I would love to see the industries reshape what that looks like and what skillsets make for a strong leader, really starting to put things like emotional intelligence and empathy and being able to connect with their teams at the forefront. If we do that and we do it well, I think we’re really going to open up a new talent pool, especially a talent pool full of women who otherwise wouldn’t necessarily have the opportunity.

Ibiyemi: You know, that’s a very interesting point you raised. I looked at a few statistics from Oliver Wyman. The board representation in financial services for women in 2003 was about 12% and that grew to 20% in 2016, that’s a whole lot of 13 years. That’s quite significant, having 13 years and the growth is just about 10% so yes, you’re right that the growth is really slow. Then we need to look at what do we need to do to change that.

I think one of the key things we need to look at is ask, do we have enough role models? Do we have people out there that we can look at, that we can look up to as women? Interesting thing I would like to say is that at Standard Chartered bank, we have many of us CEOs that are female, the CEO for many of our countries like Hong Kong, India, China, France, Ghana, Philippines, they’re all female and that gives a lot of encouragement in terms of diversity and what we can look forward to. I think many organisations need to begin to realise that and see that there has to be role models are the top.

Julia: And the importance of visibility; visibility is incredibly important.

Ibiyemi: Yes, absolutely.

Julia: Carmen, anything you’d add to that?

Carmen: The recruitment process here is a key because every part of any company should recruit or hire people with a specific qualification for each job. This is really important because if you create a team within which include the specific people that you need, it is a benefit for you. If we’re looking for the same profiles, we are going to go the same way. If we want the diversity, we need to look for another profile.

Julia: I think that’s very true and a lot of people are looking at the role of external recruitment firms and holding them to better account. If you’re coming back with the same sort of people, exactly as you say, then you’d go back or find different recruitment firms or look in different places. I think that’s enormously important.

So we have listeners all over the world and one of these we love to do on the podcast is give them really practical things that they could be doing, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on what are some of the things that organisations could do to drive positive change?

Ibiyemi: I think it’s not just one thing, it’s a couple of things. Organisations have to be consistent. It’s like having a toolbox and you keep putting as many tools in it as appropriate, as you need.

One of the key things is that setting the tone at the top of the organisation about driving diversity agenda is very, very crucial. I think that’s a key point that has to be done. The tone has to be from the top, there has to be internal targets about what the organisation wants to achieve. I was speaking to someone yesterday who said their organisation, after they achieved 30%, someone in the senior position said, “Now we’ve achieved 30 and that’s it.” So it’s not about achieving 30%, it’s about continuous progress and that has to be a focus.

Julia: 30% of course, isn’t equality.

Ibiyemi: It isn’t. That is essentially one of the key things, and these targets and what organisations have achieved have to be published. It has to be published in order to hold organisations accountable.

I think another piece is; are these targets linked to the scorecard of the executives in the organisation? Those are some of the things we need to look at because that will drive the right agenda and then other practical things are having a culture of inclusion in the organisation and sharing things, you spoke earlier about flexible working hours and support for the women. We also have to give support for the men to support the women.

Julia: That’s incredibly important, that we actually take the men on the journey as well.

Ibiyemi: Absolutely.

Julia: That’s a great list of very practical things we could do. Carmen, anything come to mind for you?

Carmen: From my perspective, the companies should be really flexible with employees, making their lives easy, letting them be really focused on their jobs, making agile spaces, creating agile internal processes, to help the employees to do their daily basis.

Julia: A lot of that is we’ve touched on culture and that’s environment as well, which is the environment in which we work, to add that flexibility in as well.

Carmen: Exactly. They need to take into account that diversity and multi-culture, each person has their own habits, so we need to be flexible in that terms.

Julia: Really interesting, Laurissa, any thoughts from you?

Laurissa: Great points that have been said. I just want to build on the comment of the toolbox because I think where we need to get practical is in a couple of ways.

We need to promote a growth mindset and a continuous learning culture within our organisations. When we do that, that enables us to have one to one conversations around stretch assignments. Stretch assignments are one of the most important ways that people can grow meaningful careers with momentum and continue to climb the ladder, you cannot wait until you check all the boxes. So embedding that into the normal conversation between you and your manager, you and your team, it’s vital. I think after that, it’s practise and it’s an embed and sustain but nowhere to go but up at that point.

Julia: I have to say it’s been the most wonderful conversation. I wish we could continue for longer, but we always have a time limit on our podcast. It’s been a wonderful conversation. Also, may I just say what a joy it is for me to be a mentor for the STAR Programme as well. Thank you all for taking time out of your incredibly busy schedules to be with us today. Thank you.

Laurissa: Thank you.

Carmen: Thank you, enjoyed it.

Julia: A key part of the conference is the ever popular SWIFT Institute student challenge. This week, five startup companies have been pitching to solve the essential question, how can AI be used to prevent and detect fraud in instant payments? I managed to catch up with two of the competitors, keen to hear their thoughts on talent in the industry as they are the beginning of their careers in the world of financial services.

Julia: We’re joined today by Rebecca Sterling from Cass Business School and Jean-Phillipe Richard-Charman, or JP, from the Henley Business School.

Rebecca, welcome. Thank you for joining us on the show, which is fantastic.

Rebecca: Thank you for having me.

Julia: Let me start with you really, I guess my first question is what do you think financial services firms should be doing to attract more diverse talent?

Rebecca: As you heard, I’m a Cass Business student and we have a lot of societies at Cass and I believe that they really need to get into the campus and speak to the students. I think that way, the students would be more willing to talk about how they feel and any barriers that they come across and then that information could be then taken forward and improvements made.

Julia: This is about organisations actually coming into academic institutions and engaging. I’m intrigued to know, those who do that, in your opinion, how well do they do it? Is it a one-way discussion or are they actually listening to your thoughts about the future and how you engage with them?

Rebecca: I think initially the students are really scared to say anything but once everyone becomes comfortable, I think it’s a two-way conversation. I think they’re just happy to hear our thoughts and then we feel appreciated and we feel open enough to talk to them because we see people in the financial industry that working as gods but it’s good to actually see that they are real people just like us.

Julia: Particularly as we walk around Sibos conference hall, it’s full of people. I mean that’s the thing, in many, many different shapes and forms as well. I’m delighted to hear that it’s not quite as intimidating as arguably it could be, but I’m always interested in as you look ahead in that, do you think the industry is diverse enough? Or what do you think organisations could do to encourage greater diversity?

Rebecca: I’ll tell you a little bit about my background. My parents came from the Caribbean and I was born here, I also have a learning disability, which is dyslexia. In answer to your question, I think there are barriers that need to be overcome in the industry. There was an example of a lady CEO, Alison Rose, and I think this is a great example for women that want to get into the service, so they can see that there’s people that can actually make it and they inspire you to be and be just like them and that they’re real people just like you.

Julia: Wonderful. JP, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Jean-Philippe: I’ll start off with my background as well. I was born and raised in Hong Kong, to a French-Canadian mother and an English father and due to having families in different countries, suffering from a lack of identity in terms of where do I fit in? I think this is a key topic for financial firms, financial services firms, to tackle. How will the talent that we recruit fit in? How did they think they’ll fit in, what did they need to fit in?

In terms of having a two-way conversation and really understanding what the next talent needs is a key thing for financial firms. However, also with the way the world is going, I mean both of us, Rebecca and myself, we’re both a millennial generation, and we’re more attuned with what’s happening to our country and to what’s happening to our world and the society. I think generation Z, just after us are even more in touch with that. A great example is Greta Thunberg, the activist.

With regards to that, for me anyway, I would look at financial service firms and see what are they doing in terms of the corporate social responsibility side? Are they ensuring that they’re including the whole community? Are they doing work outside of their normal operations that would ensure that the community grows outside of the organisation and has that link with the community and organisation to then both succeed and both grow together? Looking at the CSR side and having that two-way conversation with the future talents.

Julia: You’re nodding along, Rebecca.

Rebecca: Yes, I absolutely agree, I think diversity is fantastic. You get a rich pool of information from people from all different backgrounds and I think it just opens up your mind to see how people think in a different way to you. If you get from the same talent pool, then you get the same results. So you need to widen that scope and widen your span and you just become enriched with that, it adds value.

Julia: I think one of the interesting things that comes out of both of your comments is a purpose, the social responsibility purpose, but also how organisations engage fresh thinking through new talent coming through as well. As you walk around the hall, are you optimistic?

Rebecca: Yes, absolutely. I mean, the fact that we are here is amazing. I wouldn’t be in a position to be able to be here and buy a ticket. As a student, just being in this environment, it’s very inspiring. Everyone is very professional and I think that’s the amazing thing about the SWIFT Challenge. It gives students the opportunity to see the other side. I mean for me it’s like Disney World.

Jean-Philippe: I completely agree. I think, obviously starting with the Swift Institute, I think the opportunity is once in a lifetime and it’s a perfect way for us to understand what’s going on in the industry. In terms of the finance industry, I mean, the first thing that used to come to my mind is that they are all about numbers and because they’re all about numbers, the way they treat people may be like that, treating people as a statistic. However, from firsthand experience of being here, I’m seeing the complete opposite. From a numbers industry that’s actually treating people like human beings and more and more like humans, such as if you were to take the challenger banks, for example, Monzo, Starling, they are focusing on the customer experience but not only the customer experience but their employees’ experience. In terms of retaining talent, I think that is key, focusing on both experiences.

Julia: Well, this is where I wanted to go next because it’s one thing to be attracted, to first walk through the door and go, “This is the person who’s being the most appealing in the first step in my career.” But let’s look a little further out, five to 10 years. We think a lot about turnover in the industry. What does the industry need to do to retain you and retain talent?

Jean-Philippe: As I just mentioned, I think the main thing would be the interactions, how are you being interacted with? Treating people the way they want to be treated is the key thing, instead of treating people just the way you want to be treated because there’s a big difference there. Once you’re able to treat people the way they want to be treated, then you can move forwards. Other things that would, for me anyway, that would keep me in an organisation is I showed loyalty to the organisation and I would therefore expect loyalty to be shown back to me in terms of investing in my development, giving me the opportunities to expand, putting me in the deep waters so that I can learn from my mistakes and getting rid of that blame culture that seems to be present in all industries.

Julia: Interesting. Rebecca, your thoughts on that?

Rebecca: Absolutely agree. I think it’s inclusiveness and I think that people want to have a sense of belonging and building a community around that, to the different backgrounds, the different cultures, the different thoughts, the different experiences and then people feel valued and want to stay.

Julia: But of course, this is all great on paper. It’s all good on paper and we’re here where everybody’s presenting their shiniest self. I know all these exhibitors who are going, “We’d love you with a great potential for talent,” but it’s hard for organisations to change. They are entrenched organisations, many of them are hundreds of years old. Many of them are also new, exactly as you were saying, the new start ups, but they’re sizeable. Some of them are large organisations. What can they be doing to accelerate the pace of that change?

Rebecca: People just don’t like change and I mean, you’ve really got to change the psychology of the people and get into the culture and change the culture from within. I think that’s just a case of where if you do not, you will become obsolete. You need to keep up with what is going on and part of that is bringing in people from all around the world to enrich and grow and develop your business, or you become stagnant.

Jean-Philippe: I completely agree with Rebecca and I believe that it’s very hard for firms to change because they have a closed-mindedness unfortunately. They like the way things are being done and because of liking the way things are being done, they don’t want to change because there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, so to say. However the wheel doesn’t need to be reinvented, it just needs to be readjusted. Understanding that mindset and understanding the new generation’s mindset, will make it easier in the future. It’s not going to happen overnight, it will progressively happen and it will progressively happen over time.

Julia: Any thoughts on how organisations could do that? We’ve talked about them coming into academic institutions and having a two-way conversation, and two-way engagement. Are there any other things when you enter the workplace you’d like to see organisations do that demonstrate that we are human beings, we have a contribution to make, that diversity matters and that actually they’re open to fresh ideas?

Jean-Philippe: I think it’s that two-way conversation and talking to people and not intimidating them, especially someone new coming into the workforce might be intimidated by the people above them, by their line managers, by the CEO, by the COO and such. Having that two-way conversation, without being intimidating, is key. You see a lot of companies where the CEO is completely detached from the operations and that doesn’t promote or project a good image, especially from someone just starting out in the workforce. I think that’s really key, that two-way conversation.

Rebecca: Absolutely agree with JP. I know for myself at Citi, I have a mentor and that’s just really helped me ask any questions that I may think are silly. That mentor is in the industry and she’s been able to give me insight, what it’s actually like. I have two young children, so was apprehensive about how it would be as a mother in the industry and for the organisation that she works for, she’s able to work from home one day a week and she does three days a week in the office. So for me to know that, that there is a future in the industry that I want to get into and something that will work with my lifestyle is fantastic.

Julia: Wonderful. May I just say it’s just been an incredible conversation, I’ve really enjoyed it. I know you’re having a great conference. I wish you every success on the stage today may the best team win and look forward to see you at Sibos again when you have your stellar jobs in the organisations who deserve you. Thank you very much.

Rebecca: Thank you for your time.

Jean-Philippe: Thank you very much.

Julia: It’s been a very interesting conversation today starting with the research from Kristina Kämpfer from Oxford University, thinking about the reality we face and hearing the views of the rising stars of the new entrance into the world of financial services. It’s been a pleasure to record this on Talent Thursday at Sibos 2019. My name is Julia Streets and thank you for listening to DiverCity Podcast.

Kieron: This episode of the DiverCity Podcast was produced by me, Kieron Yates, on behalf of Julia Streets Productions. You can find out more about the guests on this week’s show on our website, Whilst you are there, you can also sign up to our newsletter for all our latest updates.

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