'No room for bias'. The City mounts its defence

November 7, 1997

Phil Baty asked employers in the Square Mile what they were doing to recruit more ethnic minoritygraduates. Here are their responses:

Deutsche Morgan Grenfell

Vivian Dykstra, head of graduate recruitment: "As a matter of course we do diversity monitoring, providing a breakdown of ethnicity and gender from the application forms. We do target specific institutions, and discriminate against others, but it is based purely on academic reputation and nothing else. We do not bias against ethnic minorities, but we do bias against inferior academic institutions - if these institutions happen to be populated by ethnic minorities, it is by the by for us.

"It might be true that the institutions we target have a higher proportion of white, middle-class people. In London we target the London School of Economics and Imperial College, where there is a large Asian contingent, and no one of any ethnicity from these institutions need fear discrimination. We have rigorous standards of entry.

"We don't do positive discrimination stuff. The entry standards are very high and there is no way we would slack off to fill quotas of women and so on. We look for very good grades at A level and we do have a cut-off point. We would not offer jobs to people with 2:2s or thirds from (former) polytechnics.

"We have a screening system for applicants based on a points system, which covers academic achievements and other elements, and there is no room for bias. We want people to be culturally aware with a range of extra-curricular activities. But we get hundreds of CVs, and there is a very healthy proportion ofethnic minorities. Any player in the global market will take a diverse mix of people."

Goldman Sachs

David Duffy, director of human resources: "When recruiting, our priority is educating potential candidates about the incredible diversity of roles in Goldman Sachs. We also stress the mobility and career development opportunities available. As a firm we are very focused on diversity within our recruitment process for one simple reason - we see the continuing promotion of cultural, ethnic,gender and all types of diversity as a critical part of the firm's broader commitment to excellence.

"By promoting diversity we help ensure that we can continue to recruit, retain and reward the very best and brightest individuals.

"Goldman Sachs in Europe recruits graduates on a global basis. In Europe specifically we recruit from more than 55 colleges at the undergraduate and graduate level. We seek to hire the very best people for each role and do not discriminate in this process on any basis. We have a tremendously diverse client base as a result of our global franchise and can only succeed in servicing these clients by having a diverse employee base.

"As a result there is no generic type of Goldman Sachs employee and there is no standard background that we look for - candidates from all walks of life and cultures and educational backgrounds can be successful in Goldman Sachs. In our London office alone we have more than 50 different nationalities.

"The future success of our business will depend upon our ability to maintain this diversity of cultures and backgrounds within our work force around the world."

Merrill Lynch

Jane Ageros, director of corporatecommunication:

"We train all our interviewers to pick up cultural differences and to make sure the questioning is free of cultural bias. We take on 100 graduates a year and we have 79 different nationalities in Merrill Lynch Europe - it is a business issue to get a representative sample. We don't keep breakdowns of our applicants on the basis of nationality, but as we are part of a US company, equal opportunities are deeply ingrained in our culture."

Mercury Asset Management

Jonathan Ruck Keene, public relations director:

"We're reluctant to discuss our recruitment methods for competitive reasons."

Hambros

Steven Potter, head of personnel, was "too busy to comment". A spokeswoman for the company said that the merchant bank was keeping a "very low media profile" on all matters, following speculation that it is about to be broken up.

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