The City by Patrick Ntiamoah, Generation 2020 Ambassador
What do you think of when you think of the City? Canary Wharf, finance, insurance, the Bank of England, skyscrapers, suits, heels and packed trains.
These are all things which are associated with the City; however this is not what I directly think of when I hear the about it. When I think of ‘the City’, I think of a place that enables me to surround myself with people who are making real life contributions, to how our world operates, whether it’s through major financial transactions, leveraging the power of technology to streamline processes, or all the other key operations which firms engage in, essentially contributing to the world both economically and socially; further highlighting the importance of London as one of the world’s financial centres.
As with most things, my view of the City has been influenced by my surroundings. Growing up, the City has always been viewed and spoken of, as a place filled with the people who dress up smartly, who work pretty hard and who get paid very well, but also a place which provides people with the opportunity to use it as a foundation to create a long-lasting career as well as personal success. But as time has gone on and I’ve grown up, I’ve quickly realised that the City isn’t a place where someone like myself; a young black man, who studied at a state school, who will be the first generation to go to university, a proud South Londoner; is expected to end up – and that broke my heart.
Until today, when I think of the City, I still see a place where there is a lack of representation, not only in C-Suite positions but also throughout the organisation from the bottom up. That being said, many firms are making the effort to change. For instance, Morgan Stanley recently added Diversity & Inclusion to its set of values, showing company wide responsibility to embed diverse ideas, people within everything it does. Similarly during my Sixth Form years, there have been several schemes by firms such as PwC, EY, Bloomberg, JP Morgan in partnership with The Brokerage and other social mobility organisations to empower young people like me. I’m a firm believer that a diverse environment where different people come to together and contribute will enables great progress; creating a solution with input from a myriad of people.
I also believe that the City is also a place where inclusion is vital, not only in terms of race, but also for gender, class, sexuality, disability and any other group that has not been thought of, because it’s important to ensure that structures are in place to enable people to feel comfortable and included in the firm’s overall culture, and that of the City.
So when I’m asked “What do you think of when you think of the City?, I think of a place that is growing to be more diverse and inclusive, but also a place that is already for dreamers and hard-workers, who are having a global impact; and that’s where I want to be.