Building an infrastructure bank in Yorkshire: attracting talent

Infra Bank in Focus

Building an infrastructure bank in Yorkshire: attracting talent

25 January 2023

By Patricia Galloway, Chief People Officer

Patricia Galloway headshot

It’s a general perception that the UK banking sector is based in London. This is despite flourishing financial services sectors in places including Leeds and Edinburgh, and more people open to relocating outside the capital following the Covid pandemic.

That said, even if you want to debate the supremacy of London’s attraction for workers in this specialist market, many people will automatically think that exciting jobs in this industry are based in the Capital. That makes building a new, niche bank in Leeds a fascinating and unique challenge as a Chief People Officer. 

The good news is that we are based in Leeds, a city with a vibrant financial services sector, and that provides an excellent platform upon which to build. And this is essential because the great majority of our staff will be based here in West Yorkshire.

Recruitment has been a key focus for myself and my C-Suite colleagues since we joined in September.

To date, we have been making good progress. We have interviewed a number of banking professionals who are excited at the opportunity to return home and still grow their banking skillset, as well as very talented professionals in the local market. 

Our target is to have a total workforce of around 280 at steady state. As of the end of December, we had 31 permanent staff in place, with a further 35 due to join the Bank shortly. The rest of our workforce are currently contractors and secondees, and this will come down over time, as our permanent employee base builds.

We’re realistic about the challenge - we are recruiting to some very specialist posts that require specialist skills – banking, risk, financial audit, economists and portfolio management to name just a few.

We have a hugely compelling proposition for people looking for a unique and exciting opportunity, due to the nature of our dual mission – to play a pivotal role in building out the infrastructure the UK needs to reach Net Zero, and to drive regional and local economic growth. 

There is nothing straightforward about delivering this mission. It involves a number of discrete but linked challenges, for example, crowding-in private capital – currently standing at £4.6 billion across 10 deals announced to date, and rising. And finding a way to measure and report on our work to ensure we are bringing something to the table that the market wouldn’t on its own – we are making good progress here, with our approach to additionality now clearly defined.

But for people who want to come together as a team to solve some of the most intractable challenges we face, there is no better place to be.

It was the mission, the opportunities that go with it, and the potential legacy that we can leave behind, that attracted me to the Bank. And I know there are many others like me.

As we build out the Bank, I am struck by the passion and energy of employees and candidates in their genuine desire to help us deliver on our mission. 

Part of this will be about building the right culture over time. Not everything we do will work. That’s why we need to build a culture where we have the confidence to take measured, but appropriate risks, be entrepreneurial and learn fast from our mistakes. 

As we grow, we will be contributing to the economic and professional vibrancy of Leeds as a City. In recent years we have seen Channel Four move its headquarters here, the Financial Conduct Authority has opened a base in the city, and the Bank of England is planning to significantly expand its presence in Leeds. And only yesterday the National Infrastructure Commission co-located part of its workforce at our headquarters in Leeds. 

This is significant because it aligns with the regional and local economic growth element of our mission. It’s essential that we are anchored in the community in which we are based.

If you believe in what we are doing, want to be part of a growing, committed, and passionate team, and have skills that align with our mission, please do get in touch. We want to hear from you.