UBS sheds light on diversity in its UK operation for the first time

Nearly 40% of UBS’s UK graduate population in 2020 are from ethnic minority backgrounds, according to the firm’s first ever diversity report in the country, in a year when large investment banks rolled out ambitious promises to increase racial representation.

The Swiss bank took on 38% of new graduates from ethnic minority backgrounds, it said, while 30% of all new recruits in its UK operations were from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, the report added.

Investment banks have made promises to increase racial diversity over the past year, particularly among Black professionals, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement sparked by the death of George Floyd in the US in May 2020.

UBS has around 5,000 UK-based employees, largely within its new headquarters at 5 Broadgate near Liverpool Street station. The bank has published diversity data for the first time, but has not given absolute numbers of staff that fall into each category.

READ How Black Lives Matter shone a new light on inequality in the City

The Swiss bank’s UK graduate intake was 46% female, the report said, with woman comprising 34% of overall headcount in the country and 28% in the senior ranks.

Meanwhile, 24% of employees are from ethnic minority backgrounds, as are 20% in more senior positions. Within this, however, just 3% of senior staff are Black, while Black employees comprise 4% of UBS’ overall UK headcount.

The bank is aiming to increase Black representation in the senior ranks by 80% at director level and above, it said.

“While we have made progress, we have more work to do,” said Beatriz Martin, UK chief executive at UBS, in the report.

READ JPMorgan names new leader to bring in more Black talent across Europe

Other banks have also made pledges to increase the number of Black professionals in their ranks. Goldman Sachs is targeting 7% entry level Black recruits in the UK, and 7% in the mid-ranks by 2025, while last June HSBC promised to double the number of Black director-level employees over the next five years as part of an “urgent response” to BLM.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Paul Clarke

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