Are Investment banks recruitment policies racist?


Hi guys

Hope you are doing good. What is your take on the aforementioned question. I believe a lot of the big banks even the ones based in HK not necessarily the UK/USA have very restrictive recruitment policies. Even to be invited for a test they don’t consider you in the same bracket as someone who is a ‘white’. I did an experiment where my british friends, I mean white ones, having much worse grades than me applied for HSBC’s IM programme and all of them received an invitation to take the test but my application was denied and the reason they gave me was: Your achievements are good but your profile doesn’t match our requirements.

Is this a case of racism? What do you people think ?
I live in the UK and have a working visa here but am a Pakistani National. I have a Masters from Imperial and was on the deans list. What more do HSBC or the other big banks want is beyond my comprehension. Will I have grounds to sue HSBC if I ask them to open my application and compare my achievements/ results to my friends? What is your opinion?

I am just so freaking tired of these so called racist policies.


If you’ve made a fair amount of applications then you know that IBs are quite competitive and it’s definitely not all about grades. Work on your CV and make other applications. I am not “white” but I’ve got a role in an IB for this september. The fact that you did not get in does not automatically make them racist.
P.S, if you have such a victim’s mentality, IB might really not be the place for you 'cos their employees are not paid equal amounts there.


Well guys

You have got interesting stories but the catch was my friends, who didnt want to join HSBC in the first place, copied the answers to my questions and submitted those applications just as they were. 2 of them. Exact ditto answers and t we have saved those applications as well.

Well the first thing is I have an EU resident permit so travelling wouldn’t have been a problem since I mentioned in the application in other comments. Moreover, the experience you are talking about they didnt have unlike me. Only our CV’s were different and I had an internship at JP Morgan and one of them had it at Tesco and the other at Unilever.

I have not made the racist accusation out of blue. What I am saying is if you look at the process objectively then how many ‘other’ nationalities are represented in IB at major banks. Don’t give the ruse that the positions are based in Europe etc.

I mean banks shouldn’t advertise the fact that they make an extra effort at not looking at nationality etc the disclaimer, if you read it, it says that your nationality has no bearing on the application.

Geekydiva its good for you but once you start there I believe you might have a different opinion anyways I wish you the best of luck. Its also the nuances you get sometimes when you know you are not welcome.

Anyways thats what my opinion is but everyone is entitled to one I presume


If you can prove without any doubt that an IB’s candidate sifting process is racist, then there are certainly grounds for legal action against each firm you believe to be racist.

It is extremely unlikely however, that Investment Banks in the present day would pursue racist applicant sifting policies. Every employer in the UK is extremely worried about legal action and being perceived to be “racist” in the public eye is something they actively work against.

Many Investment Banks actually have very active positively discriminatory policies aimed towards recruiting more women, more candidates from a mixture of ethnic backgrounds, more candidates with disabilities and even more sexually diverse (even trans-gender) candidates - effectively what could be perceived to be fundamentally anti-white male recruitment policies.

If you really do have an excellent academic record with associated internship experience, etc, then, if anything, you would be more likely to be at an advantage over your white male counterparts at the application stage of assessment.

If there is anything that could be the matter with your application, it is likely to be your applications themselves. Are your sure your CV and application forms are 100% without flaw or error?

You might want to get these checked.

Good luck with your applications.



There is any easy way to prove the system is at flaw. Whenever you make applications in future make one with your Pakistani name and one with a traditionally British name and edit your CV/application as appropriate.

This would be a great test and I (and I’m sure everyone else) would be incredibly interested to find out the results.



You probably have a point, I just didn’t have a similar experience in any of my applications. But then again, I didn’t apply to HSBC. You could try what Redsuperted said and see how that works out. That sounds more like a “case” than what you said earlier.


Well, P-akibanker, I stand corrected … maybe you should have gone into more details about how similar your friend’s application and yours were before my reactionary outpouring. But, in any case , I agree with what Redsuperted says. Specially, the part about sending two similar application with different names (and not on the same day as the same person is likely to look at them both which will cause them to suspect something fishy).


Hello guys

Redsuperted that was an excellent suggestion gee I didnt think of that before. I will do that.

Moreover even if I would have been accepted in HSBC I have already got a job at JP so your guess is as good as mine but the entire point of writing this thread was: There is more than meets the eye and we need to get IB’s not to that or if they do sift then accept it. I have no qualms if someone tells me : sorry we dont employ pakis but I have issues when someone tells me everyone is invited and when you reach them they say: sorry the door is closed you came too late!!

I am sure its the same application and since all of us have print outs of the applications I will try to extract something from HSBC. It’s payback time. I am just thinking if it might affect my JP situation since all of the IB community is tightly knit but I just think of the day when they will be called by the Equality Ombudsman.

And for next yr’s applications I will follow Redsuperted’s suggestions. Atleast some of the compensation can help me enjoy a month in Sardinia.


As far as my experience goes, i dont think HSBC are racist as i know a few asians (Indians, Pakisatnis, chinese etc) that all made it to the FSC. I think maybe on the day u just happened to get sumone who luked through your app and viewed it unsuitable. Gud luck wid ur job with JP


i dont think you should think like that keep trying one day unexpectedly you will make it.


For a lot (if not all) UK jobs, HR have to prove that they can’t find anybody with an EU passport (or possibly a long term visa) before they can hire someone with a “foreign” passport. I’m assuming the visa you have at the moment is the one you get when you’ve just finished education in Britan? (I think it’s for 2 years or something)


Banks cant be racist, they’ve got quotas to fill. Otherwise they wouldnt be able to shoot sh*t about how diverse and multicultural they are.


This type of the thread has been posted here before. So, I wont make much further comments than I already have in a previous thread…




How is that racist!? Your a Pakistani national!!! Thats like a British going to China trying to get a job in bank of china. Of course they will prefer locals over Pakistanis. There is no way in hell you can compete with locals, no matter how many degrees or masters you get, its just not possible. What was you thinking!? Go to England from Pakistani and take a job from a local English man!? Give me a break.