An annual survey of attitudes towards homosexuality in the City of London has found that the country’s financial heart has “slipped as a bastion of equality.”

Financial services recruiter Joslin Rowe surveyed 13,494 candidates for City roles and collated anonymous information on sexuality kept for diversity monitoring purposes over the last three years.

7.7% of respondents anonymously identified themselves as gay or lesbian In 20006/07.

This fell to 7.4% in 2007/08.

These figures indicate that out of the 900,000 people working in banking, finance, and insurance in London, 66,600 are gay or lesbian.

The government estimates 6% of the population is gay, bisexual or lesbian. A figure of 10% is normally given for London.

“The City was moving away from its traditional image of white, heterosexual and male – which puts off many gay and lesbian applicants,” said Tara Ricks, managing director of Joslin Rowe Associates.

“As a result, the proportion of gay and lesbian workers began to increase.

“Times changed and diversity became a watchword for human resources policy. But it looks as though progress has stalled.

“Two important things have happened – City workers aren’t turning straight en masse.

“Firstly, people don’t feel secure enough to identify themselves as gay at the moment, even anonymously.

“This fits with our analysis of the impact age has on City worker’s willingness to identify themselves as gay.

“The second thing that has happened is age discrimination legislation. We don’t think the widening of the ‘gay gap’ is just about candidates, it’s also the result of a change of focus within City institutions.

“Employers have turned their attention to age discrimination laws and the issue of sexuality has become less important.

“Arguably, the fact that sexuality is no longer seen as an issue in the City might not be such a bad thing.”

City institutions have also drifted down Stonewall’s Corporate Equality Index.

Last year investment banks and consulting firms still dominated the index – nine of the Top 25 organisations in the country were City firms. This year, just 6 have made the top 25.

Of men who identified themselves as gay, 40.6% are 30 or under.

60.6% of heterosexual men are 30 or under.

59.4% of gay men working in the City are over 30 – compared to only 32.4% of heterosexuals.

40.6% of men who identified themselves as gay are 30 or under whereas 60.6% of heterosexuals men are 30 or under.

59.4% of gay men working in the City are over 30 – compared to only 32.4% of heterosexuals.

“More of the older generation will identify themselves as gay – once City workers reach a certain level in an organisation, they feel confident enough to do so,” said Ms Ricks.

“But fewer young gay people are prepared to identify themselves as such. It’s about feeling secure in your workplace.

“The credit crunch has made people feel less secure – hence the falling numbers.”