Awards 2013-Barclays-Recruiting Diverse Talent Award

The Cultural Awareness Network / Campus Recruitment Partnership

As a market leading global universal bank it is critical for Barclays to attract and retain the most talented, diverse workforce available and ensure its workforce demographics are reflective of the changing opportunities globally. 

Banking is renowned for its complexity and relies on the problem-solving personal attributes of its employees. Team diversity broadens social capital which enhances performance. People with diverse perspectives generate more comprehensive views of problems, offer alternative interpretations and ultimately generate more creative, robust solutions.

Barclays has expanded aggressively in Europe over the past 5-6 years since the credit crisis, particularly in the Investment Bank. It is now able to reflect on ethnic landscape of its workforce with commercial opportunities in mind. By comparing its EMEA demographics to the London population, it is clear it is under-represented with BAME employees, particularly Black Afro-Caribbean.



The Cultural Awareness Network (CAN) and HR Campus Recruitment team collaborated in 2011 to enhance the recruitment processes to ensure they are more inclusive. They aimed to significantly improve the demographics of its recruitment intake within 5-10yrs. It was achieved in 2yrs.

Barclays have customised solutions for each business division, including the Investment Bank which is notoriously difficult in converting BAME students into hires.

The Campus Recruitment / CAN partnership leveraged off the leadership, experience and influence of the network coupled with the detailed knowledge of the recruitment process by Campus Recruitment to analyse, identify and deliver the most effective enhancements for making the recruitment process more inclusive.

Barclays’ long term vision is to become the financial graduate employer of choice for BAME students. Initial focus centred upon the Investment Bank’s graduate programme, which represents one of its largest intakes but historically a challenging area to attract and recruit BAME students into.


Its goals since the 2010/11 recruitment season have been to :

  • Extend outreach activity and increase applications from BAME students particularly Black Afro-Caribbean by 20%
  • Create integrated partnership model between campus recruitment, CAN and external partners such as SEO, Rare, Powerful Media, etc
  • Increase the intake of BAME interns (Spring and Summer) by at least 5%.
  • Improve recruitment conversion statistics of BAME students by introducing firm-wide mandatory unconscious bias training to EXCO, MD’s and Directors
  • Introduction of Strength based Interviewing which have proven results relating to diversity as the focus is on potential and enthusiasm instead of past experiences.

“Over the last two years we have seen a huge increase in interest in Barclays from BAME students. This is testament to the thoughtful and comprehensive approach they’ve taken to identifying, engaging and supporting students. (….) Critically they’ve identified two ways to help BAME students achieve their potential – better education and mentoring from the experts, their staff.”

- Hason Sandhu,


Close partnerships enhanced the effectiveness of outreach and recruitment programmes.  Internal partnerships saw 241 Campus events where CAN members targeted BAME candidates.  External partnerships included BAME event - dinners, conferences, case-studies, speaker-events - with SEO, RARE, ACS, PowerfulMedia and GeneratingGenius

“I attended various events hosted by banks leading up to Spring-Week. I received multiple offers but Barclays was my first choice. My preference was purely down to their commitment throughout the application process and consistent delivery on promises of support. Nearly all other banks spoke about open door policy but Barclays is the only one who truly demonstrated this. Their people and culture really set them apart.”

Reeya Sakaria, LSE

Barclays moved from the bottom of SEO and RARE’s league tables to one of the leading BAME recruiters –  a 200% increase in intern offers accepted by SEO/RARE candidates within 2 years.

View Barclays Presentation