Brown Shoes? You Lose! The Social Mobility Commission Study

the social mobility commission conducted a recent study into employability

A report released earlier this month by the social mobility commission has shown evidence that graduate job candidates in London are being undone by somewhat absurd rules over interview attire; such as the colour of their shoes or the way in which they have tied their tie.

The Social Mobility Commission

The Social Mobility Commission focused mainly on the unwritten expectations of those in the investment banking sector.
The first rule discovered by the study, is that the wearing of brown shoes is generally considered unacceptable in investment banking. The reason for this is because of the pre-conceived idea that customers are reassured (or failed to be reassured) by this colour. The same rule applies for ties, which are expected not to be ‘too loud’ and harshly judged if they don’t match with the colour of the individual’s suit.

the study conducted by the social mobility commission was very conclusive

Other rules

Not all banking investment firms follow these outdated rules; and there are also a handful of other rules which many firms adhere to. Understandably, education plays a big role in whether candidates will get the job; with universities such as London School of Economics, UCL and Warwick featuring prominently in the list. In fact, some current employees have admitted that given the newfound importance of university education in getting a job; they would not feel confident in getting back into the field if they left/took a break. Some candidates have even admitted that they have had to put on another accent during an interview, in order to secure the position.

What does this say?

So, what can we read into the social mobility commission findings? Well, firstly, it could be said that the world of employment perhaps isn’t as open as people think. Despite hugely positive steps; many sectors still operate under what can be seen as outdated and unfair practices; which can result in the exclusion of those who ‘aren’t in the know’. While it’s fair to judge candidates based on the quality of their education, ridiculous rules like ‘no brown shoes’ need to go, and fast.


the social mobility commission gave a damning indictment of investment banking practices