Breaking Down Barriers in Banking
30th July 2023
Bank of Ireland is taking aim at barriers to careers in banking through a range of initiatives designed to achieve greater workforce diversity.
These initiatives include steps to enhance the Bank’s socio-economic diversity, accessibility, ethnic minority representation, and gender balance. The Bank has also reaffirmed that a leaving certificate or college degree is not required for most applicants.
To enhance workforce diversity, a range of initiatives are now underway or planned across six key areas of socio-economic diversity, accessibility, ethnic minority, gender balance, future skills and helping to create a future-ready society. These include:
•A major study into ethnic minority hiring in Ireland’s financial services sector is to be commissioned. The report will examine the experience of employees with ethnic minority backgrounds as well as recruitment to retention practices across the sector, and make recommendations on how to remove barriers to entry. The Bank will publish the report next year with findings intended to support the wider sector;
•A marketing campaign to attract more ethnic minority candidates into the Bank’s frontline customer-facing roles;
•Through partnership with DCU’s Access Programme students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds will continue to be able to take up a paid internship with the Bank while studying for a degree;
•The Bank will also continue to help the unemployed and underemployed to acquire the skills needed for a career in IT through the sector’s Fast Track to IT (FIT) initiative;
•A number of 8-week work placements and 3-6 month paid internships will be available for students and graduates of the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities (TCPID);
•As part of the Women ReBOOT programme run by the Technology Ireland Digital Skillnet, Bank of Ireland will continue to offer reskilling and upskilling to women who have been out of the workforce for more than two years;
•A specialist assessment conducted to ensure the Bank improves its readiness to hire and support neuro-diverse candidates;
•The Bank of Ireland graduate programme will enable diversity, with the 2023 programme intake having a 50:50 gender balance and with over a quarter identifying themselves as being from an ethnic minority background.
Further initiatives are also in development by the Bank of Ireland Careers Academy for later this year, targeting the hiring of candidates who represent the broader society the bank serves. In total, and including the graduate programme, the initiatives will see more than 100 people gain permanent roles or work experience at Bank of Ireland over the next 12 months.
Matt Elliott, Chief People Officer, Bank of Ireland, said:
“Talent is everywhere but opportunity is not. We want to play our part in changing that.
“A vibrant, dynamic company needs a diversity of skills, perspectives and backgrounds. If we allow conscious or unconscious barriers to act as a blocker to people joining our company, we lose out as a business and talent is squandered, which is bad for everyone. We will continue to evolve our approach to hiring to ensure we attract candidates who represent the breadth of society we serve.
“We ditched the requirement for the Leaving Cert or a third-level qualification to be considered for most roles, and are reaffirming our commitment to this policy today.
Transferable skills like critical thinking, problem solving, attention to detail, and teamwork are more important to us.
It’s really important that we remind potential job applicants of this at this time of year when there is so much focus on exam results.”
Pictured (l-r): Nivali Mantramurthy, a participant in Bank of Ireland’s graduate programme; David Banfield, a graduate of the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities who recently joined the Bank on a permanent contract and Eimear Moore, Emerging Careers Lead at Bank of Ireland.