(Bloomberg) -- The City of London’s yawning class divide threatens its productivity and competitiveness, according to a report that criticized the sector as “deeply unrepresentative of the wider UK population.” 

Just 21% of senior roles are filled by employees from working class backgrounds, according to the financial center’s Socio-Economic Diversity Taskforce, which polled more than 9,000 employees across 49 finance firms. Employees from working-class backgrounds are twice as likely to say their background has negatively impacted their career in the City.

The industry is “at risk of losing talented and skilled workers to other sectors, especially at senior leadership level, because talented people are held back by their backgrounds,” Catherine McGuinness, chair of the taskforce, said in the report. “The sector must urgently respond to the results of this survey. We urge businesses to act now, and collect employee data on socio-economic background, setting targets and monitoring progress to encourage a level playing field for all.”

The report comes as the City of London struggles to diversify on a number of fronts, with firms across the industry also trying to raise the number of non-White staff in senior positions.

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