Graduates hoping to score a job in the City of London are being defeated by a set of arcane rules that dictate what color shoes you should wear and how best to tie your tie, a U.K. government study has found.
A new report released Thursday by the Social Mobility Commission, which was set up by the U.K. government in 2010, looked at the unwritten expectations of investment bankers in the United Kingdom.
When discussing dress codes, it finds "relatively opaque" codes of conduct go as far as dictating what color of shoe a British investment banker should wear.
"For men, the wearing of brown shoes with a business suit is generally considered unacceptable by and for British bankers within the investment banking division", the report said.
Authors of the survey, entitled Socio-Economic Diversity in Life Sciences and Investment Banking, heard evidence that exceptions on brown shoes can be made for M&A bankers who hail from continental Europe or some bankers who are sufficiently senior.
One respondent to the survey explained how he was told that despite having a successful interview he wasn't quite "polished" enough for the bank.
"He looked at me and said, 'see that tie you're wearing? It's too loud. You can't wear that tie with the suit that you're wearing'", reads the statement.
The report suggested that dress codes are considered by financiers as important when reassuring clients about the quality of service they will receive.