Citi: Attracting Diverse Talent in a Sector Plagued by Negative Brand Perception


Citi is a well-known international bank, but the organisation still faces challenges when it comes to their employer brand.

The multi-national banking organisation was struggling to attract qualified and culture-fit candidates due to negative perceptions of the financial sector and its attitudes towards diversity and inclusion. Compounding the challenges, as a subsidiary of Citigroup, Citi EMEA talent team had no control of the career site. They struggled to showcase a true representation of the EMEA workplaces to prospective candidates which led to a lack of qualified applicants, especially amongst diverse candidates.

Citi EMEA knew it needed to update its career site to create authentic and persuasive content for prospective applicants. It wanted to showcase diverse employee advocates and share this content across their key recruitment channels.

The talent attraction team implemented the PathMotion online discussion platform. This generated an average of 1040 discussions per year, across 4 categories, and has given Citi EMEA the means to conduct 102 Live Chats with 5,322 participating candidates.

But don’t just take our word for it…

Here’s what Emma Britton, the EMEA Graduate Recruitment Marketing Manager for Citi had to say about the platform:

“PathMotion is ideal to demonstrate to candidates with non-finance degrees, LGBTQ+ candidates, BAME candidates and women, that people like them already work here.”


Despite being a well-known global bank with brand awareness across multiple regions, Citi still faces challenges as an employer.

Handling high volumes with limited resources 

With limited resources, the EMEA talent acquisition team screens and manages a high volume of applications, many of which may not be relevant to the roles for which they are applying.

The Citi EMEA team needed to create content that helped candidates make informed decisions about whether Citi was the correct choice for them. This allowed candidates to deselect themselves from the process, ultimately reducing the number of less relevant applications.

The Citi EMEA’s talent team spent a large amount of time at career fairs and corresponding with individual applicants to answer similar questions over and over again. They needed a scalable process for creating and sharing content to attract talent and answer their queries.

Perception impacts hiring 

With the banking sector still recovering from the economic downturn, Citi faced a number of perception issues that impacted their hiring KPIs. They wanted to expand their talent pool but struggled to attract diverse talent, like women and minority groups. They also wanted to reach talent from other sectors but found that candidates studying non-banking subjects or working outside of the finance industry didn’t know much about banking aside from what they saw in the media — which wasn’t exactly flattering following the events of the recession.

Career site woes

In order to change the perception of highly qualified talent, Citi knew it needed to generate different recruitment marketing content and a lot of it — a resource-intensive endeavour for a team trying to achieve more with less.

In addition, Citi’s career website was managed at the global level, and the EMEA talent team did not have easy access to change their careers site with new content that showed what it’s like to work in their EMEA offices.


Citi EMEA implemented the PathMotion platform in 2014, and in that time has created an average of 1,040 discussions per year across four categories, and has conducted 102 live chat events with 5,322 participating candidates.

The combined effect of generating discussions and hosting live chats is the cultivation of better relationships with candidates while reducing recruiting costs and time to recruit by replacing campus recruiting events with online live chats.

Sixty employee ambassadors, or Insiders, were selected from a variety of backgrounds to represent the organisation and share stories with candidates. Insiders were also selected with the intention of showcasing representation of harder-to-fill roles with six in technology-based roles and three in their Poland location, which was particularly challenging to recruit for. Insiders received comprehensive training from PathMotion’s client success team on how to craft quality responses to candidate questions that create both relevant and persuasive content. 

Candidates were able to ask Insiders questions via the discussion platform and Insiders responded by both text and video. These discussion covered a wide range of candidate concerns that are not addressed on the corporate careers site, including:

800 +

questions about career choices at Citi

200 +

questions about “life at the company”

600 +

questions about application advice

Citi EMEA also hosted live chats events with over 1,500 participants on themes such as “Meet the Team Citi in Warsaw” and “Meet the Women at Citi.”  

“With live chats we basically get the same engagement we get on campus, but it is a lot easier for me to get people involved in these compared to campus. And the response to live chats is great! The answers are short but honest and real.”

Emma Britton, EMEA Graduate Recruitment Marketing Manager for Citi

The content produced on the platform, generated through both candidate-employee Q&A and live chat events (and later published to the discussions area for future candidates to reference) was reused on other Citi’s other recruitment channels, including: 

Job adverts: With the content gap persisting on job ads, they leveraged content from the platform on job posts and in a hiring email newsletter. This increased the visibility of relevant, authentic content  – priming candidates to apply to appropriate roles.

Regular re-engagement emails:These emails, which are sent automatically from the PathMotion platform, target candidates with relevant content based on their activity in the platform, generating a click-through rate of 21%.

Social media sharing: Every week, the talent team shared several discussions on their social media channels through the platform’s social media integration which let them post to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter with one click.

SEO: The discussions generated by the platform drove organic traffic to the website, increased impressions and clicks and optimised the discussion pages for search engine rankings.

“Apart from the saving on the costs of traveling and organising events, there are also other benefits. One of the highlights was a live chat hosted by our LGBTQ+ group. Because not everyone is comfortable coming to an event that was openly advertised as LGBTQ+, we overcame that hesitation through an anonymous online live chat. So, we were able to reach out to people in a different way.” 


Following the fast and easy deployment of PathMotion on the Citi careers site (consisting of simply copying and pasting one line of code) and thorough training of Insiders, Citi began to see results right away. 

In the four years since Citi has implemented the platform, they’ve received 6,178 candidate questions generating an average of 297 views per discussion which has resulted in a talent pool of 15,514 candidates. In addition.

Better engagement of candidates with content:

  • Over 127,000 candidates visited the platform.
  • Over 1,700 candidates registered to receive re-engagement emails.
  • On average, discussions received 297 views each with each candidate viewing an average of five discussions.
  • Popular discussion received over 14,000 views. 

Better reach for the Citi EMEA employer brand:

  • Through content generation, over 57,000 platform users were brought to the site via web searches, attributable to improved search engine optimisation (SEO) generated by the content on the platform. In addition, nearly 23,000 platform visitors originated from social media. 

Better candidate experience:

  • Following live chat events, 77% of participants said their perception of the company improved in a follow-up survey. In addition, Citi saw a positive increase in Net Promoter Score (NPS) from candidates about their experience with their hiring process.  One of the most visited pages on their site included the PathMotion discussion platform – available as bot a stand-alone ‘career inspiration’ page and an integrated feature.

Improved conversion:

  • In the first year, Citi EMEA experienced over 8,000 clicks to apply  originating from the platform. Following live chat events, 37% of participants were motivated to click Apply.

In early 2018, Citi also collaborated with PathMotion and Immersion Neuroscience on a study to show the impact that employee stories, as used on the platform, have on candidates. The study showed that employee stories are 20% more likely to persuade candidates to apply than the Citi’s corporate careers site alone, as well as that the platform is significantly less frustrating to use.

PathMotion has helped Citi EMEA to significantly expanded their talent pipeline beyond the typical candidate — those with degrees and experience in the fields of finance, banking and economics — creating a more diverse workforce while also reducing HR workload by 40%.

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