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City unethical, say Oxford undergraduates

first_imgThe report also showed that despite 75% of respondents labelling the ABCL (accounting, banking, consulting and law) careers as “not supportive of society in general” with almost no students perceiving them as “demonstrably ethical”, 10% of undergraduate students are nevertheless employed in these sectors just six months after graduating.A current female undergraduate commented “I think the City has always been presented as a male dominated space…Despite this, I think banks and other professional services are working extremely hard to reverse the appearance of a gender bias and I do think it is working.“I applied for several internships and I felt that my gender was irrelevant in deciding whether or not I got the placement; instead it was interview technique or my skills set which determined the outcome…I think gender is still an issue at the higher management levels but at the internship and graduate recruitment levels it is unimportant from my experience.”The assertion that initial entry into financial services suffers from little or no discrimination is supported by the fact that men and women in the sector have the same starting salaries. However, the perception that a ‘glass-ceiling’ still exists for female professionals appears to be reinforced by data from the City, as out of all the FTSE 100 companies, only 5 have a woman in the top job, whilst only 1 in 10 of the board directors are female.Kat Wall, OUSU’s VP for Women commented: “If you see a lot of men in charge, it perhaps leads you to think you might not get there as a woman”.Interestingly, the report also found that within the University there is a clear imbalance as “women make up only 10% of Professors, 18% of Readers and 27% of Lecturers”. A recently published report by OUSU and the Oxford Careers Service has indicated that many view the City professions as unethical.Many also perceive that gender discrimination is still rife in business.The survey of 450 students was prompted by enquiries from banking and management consultancy firms as to why only one third of their Oxford applicants for graduate employment were women.The perception of discrimination in the financial services sector was particularly negative with only 20% of the women surveyed answering that it “truly does not discriminate”. Only 30% of women felt they would be supported in financial services and management consultancy, and just 40% in the law sector.Furthermore, a majority of women felt that discrimination would actively affect them in any chosen career path, with 70% citing “promotion prospects and speed” as their primary concern. 50% were of the opinion that pay, benefits and the workplace culture would have a negative impact on their careers.Based on the survey, which focussed on seven sectors – academic research, education and healthcare, engineering and environment, accounting, financial services, management consultancy and the law – the report concluded that “for every occupation, students perceive they must trade-off individual benefit and contribution to society”.Jobs in financial services were perceived to have excellent pay, with starting salaries 34% above the Oxford average, and a clear promotion path; however almost none of the respondents felt it was an ethical career, and the majority felt it was not supportive of society and that discrimination was a problem for both genders.Jonathan Black, Director of Oxford’s Careers Service, said in response to the findings, “in the era of mixed colleges and the Equal Pay Act, not much has changed in the perception of men and women about discrimination. Women may think lots of professions are open to them but, just as in the seventies, eighties, and nineties, they still perceive that there will be a big discrimination gap between them and their male counterparts in Oxford”.last_img read more