Businesses in the UK know that they need to do more to promote equality and diversity despite recent improvements. And the numbers back that conclusion.
Research by Deloitte's Within Reach shows that there has been some progress in the financial services industry post-pandemic in terms of gender balance.
However, the pandemic did disproportionately affect women in the workforce. So, there is a long way to go in creating an industry where women have equal access to opportunity and positive outcomes. Some of the key findings highlight this:
- 24% of leadership roles are occupied by women (from 22% pre-pandemic)
- there's a 9% gap between women in senior leadership and the C-suite
- women hold 6% of CEO positions in S&P 500 companies across industries
Gender equality in the workplace tips
On a global scale, the UK is ranked 22nd on the Global Gender Gap Index. This is behind other European countries such as France, Germany, and Ireland.
1. Create a gender equality strategy
2. Measure gender equality metrics
Set self-imposed targets and measure performance using metrics. Publicly report progress towards targets to promote transparency. This data is necessary to meet the new gender pay gap reporting rules.
Suggested gender equality metrics
- Gender splits across the company
- Board and leadership
- Business units & functions,
- New hires
- % working flexibly,
- % maternity/paternity
- % shared parental leave returning to work
- Employees leaving the company
3. Make executives accountable for gender equality
Introduce executive accountability for increasing gender diversity at all levels in your company across all business units. Get the tone from the top right and ensure there is senior-level buy-in.
Firms should give gender diversity parity with other business issues. Responsibility for it should sit with someone in a profit and loss line, ideally male, to prevent it from being seen as a 'silo issue' (in isolation).
4. Link remuneration to gender equality targets
Executive bonuses should be explicitly linked to better gender balance. Remuneration can be a powerful way of changing behaviour.
It's up to firms to decide how to effect this, but incentives could be given to executives and/or hiring managers.
There's a clear incentive for companies to get this right by linking remuneration with results.
5. Create a Gender Equality Charter
By creating a charter, you recognise the issue publicly and commit to specific ways you will tackle gender diversity.
The Women in Finance Charter provides a great framework for your gender equality charter.
What is the 'Women in Finance' Charter?
- It commits firms to support the progression of women into senior roles in financial services by focusing on the executive pipeline and the mid-tier level.
- It recognises the diversity of the sector. Firms have different starting points, so each should set its targets and implement the right strategy for them.
- It requires firms to publicly report on progress to deliver against these internal targets to support the transparency and accountability needed to drive change.
How do Women in Finance members promote gender diversity?
Those signing up to the charter agree to promote gender diversity in four ways:
- Having one member of their senior executive team responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion.
- Setting internal targets for gender diversity in their senior management.
- Publishing progress annually against these targets in reports on their website.
- Having the intention to ensure the pay of their senior executive team is linked to delivery against internal targets on gender diversity.
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