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Gender Diversity - “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them.”

Gender Diversity - “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them.”

Mark.Freed / 05 Oct 2017

This week E2W CEO, Mark Freed, does the maths to show what banks will need to do to meet their gender diversity commitments and makes some practical suggestions about what needs to change in the recruitment process.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” Albert Einstein

We all do it – we all make the same mistakes time and time again with one thing or another.  And financial services’ firms and their recruitment procedures are often just the same.  Given the benefits (gender dividend) of achieving gender targets, many firms need to scrutinise recruitment practices and radically changing the way they do things, in both search and selection.

E2W can show you the way to make the change, help you collect the gender dividend and meet your commitments to staff, customers, shareholders and, increasingly, the regulator.  Here’s how … 

The background - Let's do some quick maths: 

  • A financial services’ firm has 1,000 staff at VP level and above.
  • It wants to move from a 25/75% gender mix to 50/50% in three year (50/50 by 2020) and 
  • It has a staff attrition rate of 15%. Each year they will need to recruit 150 new senior staff to replace those that have left. 

The challenge:

  • To move the overall gender dial to 50/50 in the timescales then each year 83 of the 150 new hires will need to be female.

I recognise that this over simplifies the challenge and other positive and negative factors should be taken into account, but it does provide a good indication of what needs to be done. 

The solution:

So, to stop “doing the same thing and expecting different results”, we’ll use another great Einstein quotation, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them.”  

What needs to change?  The E2W 'Women's Experiences in the Recruitment Process' survey provided us with great insight into the changes required in the selection process.

But what about the search process:

  1. If resource is scarce then additional budget and time needs to be allocated for finding candidates particularly for certain traditionally un-diverse roles. 
  2. Roles, that after the internal search aren't returning female candidates, should be released to specialist search firms / consultants.
  3. Women are less likely to upload CV's to job portals or respond to adverts.  They are more likely to want to be introduced to a new career opportunity by a friend. Use a specialist search firm with a ‘community’ of diverse candidates to access hidden pools of talent.  
  4. The way in house /on site recruiters are measured and rewarded needs to change. Every recruiter I have spoken to is targeted on and only concerned about two things - time and cost of hire. If that is how they are measured it is not a surprise that they don't get more women on shortlists. 
  5. Set Targets and Measures. Develop systems and dashboards to ensure that you can measure gender mix throughout the process. CV’s received, interviews given, offers accepted – by external firm, by recruiter, by department / division, by hiring manager. 

It may seem like a tough equation to crack but, E2W, as the go-to place for banks to collect the gender dividend, can help you find the correct ‘formula’ for your organisation thanks to our significant and growing community of women pursuing financial careers and our experience of working with leading financial services firms.   

So why not make the change and do something differently?  Small changes can, and do, lead to big results.

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