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Insanity “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

Insanity “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

Mark.Freed / 02 Apr 2017

Firms have publically committed to gender equality pledges, set targets, and promised improvement in hiring and promoting women, but unless recruitment practices undergo some change very little progress will be made. So, how can we increase recruitment of women into mid and senior tier roles in our leading banks? 

By signing the Women in Finance Charter  more than a hundred firms have set targets around improving employment of women in senior roles in the financial industry. The objectives included publishing gender statistics every year, and setting targets for gender diversity in senior management. 

However, these goals will be difficult to manage without putting recruitment practices under scrutiny. It would be, as Albert Einstein once said, insanity to continue “doing the same over and over again and expecting different results”. 

 Progress has been made. Within mid tier firms change in recruitment practices is happening fast. These include recruiters being given gender diversity targets, hiring managers receiving unconscious bias training, and ensuring job descriptions are written in a gender-neutral way. Certain wording in such descriptions has been examined, ensuring a balance of words between those that men and women are more likely to respond to. Some have changed the way in which women returners are considered, treating them as normal candidate rather than an exception requiring special programmes. 

Many larger firms will struggle to meet their publically declared gender diversity goals. Often those who make the most noise about gender have the weakest statistics, and remain behind the curve in implementing practical changes to increase recruitment of women at all levels. 

 A report by Egon Zehnder showed that progress in gender diversity in senior positions in the UK has stalled, with new recruits to boards falling from 32% in 2014 to 29% in 2016. With all the noise being made about gender diversity, and so little to show for it, change is clearly needed. Think differently about recruitment.


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