Fintech types gave a united sigh of relief last month when Citigroup revealed plans for a new innovation lab in London. What a great boost to the City’s fintech scene ahead of Brexit, they cooed. Especially given concerns that leaving the EU could damage London’s ability to attract talent. But what happens in an innovation lab anyway?
Citi’s STEM graduate guests are already part of an elite minority. According to WISE, a group that tries to get women more involved in these areas, the percentage of female graduates in the subjects across the UK fell to 24% from 25% last year. But this hides encouraging news that the number of women graduating in the field is actually going up — by 1.5% to 22,340 last year — as they are being outpaced by men. If hackathons are failing to attract female graduates, then perhaps more targeted and intimate events can do the trick. Citi wants to repeat the event, make it bigger next time and potentially take it around the world.