Bloomberg News

Barclays, HSBC, BP Sign Up to U.K. Pledge to Broaden Internships

January 12, 2012

Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- More than 100 U.K. businesses agreed to advertize work-experience places and internships, rather than offering them through informal contacts, as part of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s campaign to broaden access to top jobs.

Banks including Barclays Plc, HSBC Holdings Plc and JP Morgan Chase & Co. joined BP Plc, Ernst & Young LLP and Eversheds LLP in pledging that interns would be paid at least enough to cover their expenses and accommodation, Clegg’s office in London said in an e-mailed statement today. The companies promised to recruit for jobs fairly, without rejecting candidates because of their backgrounds.

Clegg is trying to open up British professions to people who’ve had a less-privileged upbringing. According to his office, only 7 percent of the U.K. population have attended fee- paying private schools, yet their alumni account for more than half of those in top jobs, including 70 percent of senior judges and 54 percent of the chief executive officers of companies in the benchmark FTSE 100 Index.

“This is an important step towards a society where it’s what you know, not who you know, that counts,” Clegg said in the statement. “By opening their doors to young people from all walks of life, this marks the start of a culture shift among major employers, driven by the belief that ability and drive should trump connections and privilege.”

--Editors: Eddie Buckle,

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Hutton in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at

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