Top firms reject candidates with 'working class accents'

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  • Cor blimey! Just as I Adam n'Eved it.
    The rain in Spain really does stay mainly on the plains.

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  • Substitute 'real Essex barrow boy' for 'black' and there would have been uproar...

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  • Oxford and Cambridge universities in particular have worked hard over the past 15 years to make their intakes more socially and racially diverse. In more recent years, as soon as those universities approach their targets, the City law firms publicise that they want to recruit from other universities.
    One can't help but think that the change in policy by the City law firms is designed to keep the racially and socially disadvantaged groups out. What hasn't changed is that the vast majority of those who work as solicitors in City law firms were educated in the private sector.
    They go from prep school to boarding school to City law firm feeder university to a City law firm. The close pedigree ties they maintain throughout life aren't from the days of slumming with the wrong social group at university or law school but largely from the Old Boys Club.
    We've all seen groups of underprivileged school children being carted around the meeting rooms of law firms. However, I can't help but think that those children are expected to grow up to become legal secretaries, not rainmakers.
    It's all very well for someone like Lord Sugar to write a book about his rag to riches tale once he has made millions. It's easy for his unforgiving regional accent to be accepted. Sadly, for every Lord Sugar there are hundreds of talented individuals who are not given a break by the City.
    This article does not surprise me at all. In fact, I wonder why the research has been presented as new information.

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  • The big four accountancy firms are just as bad despite what this report might say.

    Your Essex barrow boy may get to the Senior Manager ranks but this will not be in London and he won't be let loose on the International scene. Drop an 'aitch' or even worse, pronounce it Haitch and you will be condemned to the backwaters of audit in Reading. Don't know how to use a knife and fork properly (NOT like a pen) and your path to partnership will be blocked.

    That's the reality of the top tiers in any profession.

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  • Dont blur the lines between social exclusion and blatant racism "Anonymous" posting at 12.21pm. 2 both serious issues which deserve their attention in the right intelligent forum without flippant remarks such as your comment.

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  • People should certainly not be discriminated against because of regional accents. However, I wouldn't think twice about rejecting a candidate who litters their interview with 'yeah' and 'coz' - two staples of the barrow boy - and god help the first interviewee to mutter 'innit' in my presence.

    As a born, bred and state-educated Essex girl I manage to get through the working day without reverting to what has become my regional dialect. If you want me to give you a job, you can manage it for an hour.

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  • As a victim of accentism I can endorse these findings. The big law firms form a self-perpetuating oligarchy. It's not as if law is difficult or needs expertiese...when times were good everyone made money, when times were bad everyone made less money. Get a monopoly on a service, and you can be hideously incompetent at everything yet still make money. So those in charge don't ever face real competition from those who know what they are doing but happen to be from Birmingham, or Liverpool, or Newcastle.

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  • Anonymous 12.46pm - you have made sweeping generalisations about the recruitment of City lawyers. I trained and qualified at a Magic Cirlce firm and we were a truly heterogeneous bunch at all levels. My Leeds University and comprehensive education didn't matter a jot.

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  • When I was a trainee at a large city firm I was constantly mocked for my 'posh' accent whereas the people with mockney accents were seen to be 'good lads'. I think these things go both ways and people should just deal with people for their abilities.

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  • If the chinless wonder concerned had made such a comment about someone with an ethnic accent he would have quite rightly lost his career. I really do not understand what accent has to do with anything, attainment and ability are everything, I seem to recall us "Essex Barrow Boys" have done very well in the City over the years! Law firms need to wake up and join the 21st century

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