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Women in Finance Charter - A massive change in recruitment practices

Women in Finance Charter - A massive change in recruitment practices

Mark.Freed / 17 Mar 2018

What a week it’s been for the Women in Finance Charter.  E2W clients Investec, UBS and Goldman Sachs are among 45 new signatories and the first annual review of progress made by the first cohort of signatories, including E2W, is published. 

In the second of our news stories we look at the progress reported in the annual review and what has changed.

The UK government launched the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter in March 2016 to encourage the financial industry to improve gender balance in senior management. The Charter now has 205 signatories covering more than 650,000 employees across the UK.

This first annual review analyses the 68 submissions from the first cohort of Charter signatories including E2W and our clients including Deutsche, Barclays and Morgan Stanley. 

For those that like statistics, numbers and deep analysis a copy of the report can be downloaded here

The review focuses on the headline commitment to gender diversity at senior management levels within signatory organisations.

 I want to pick up on two important highlights of the report. 

  1. Progress is slow: the percentage of women amongst senior managers in the 68 firms increased by 3% on average in the first year and will need to increase by a further 27% in order to reach the average target for the cohort by 2022.
  2. Laying the foundations: While a 3% increase across the cohort may seem a low figure, the signatories’ data clearly shows they have engaged in a wide range of activities in this first reporting year of the Charter in order to accelerate the pace of change in future years. 

There must be a name for it. You know, that point when you suddenly notice something has changed. It happened to me the other day when visiting Canary Wharf - I noticed a new building for the first time.  It had been a building site for over a year, slow progress and then suddenly almost finished.

So, what has happened to lay the foundations for better gender diversity in financial services?  A massive change in recruitment practices!

This time last year many firms wanted to retain E2W as a recruitment partner but were doing it without a thought for strategy for diversity recruitment. You don’t receive quality, diverse candidate shortlists or hire the best female talent by just saying you want to or ticking a few boxes. You need a strategy – a gender diversity recruitment strategy.

You need a strategy because women take a different approach to career changes, you have to look harder for them, they take the application process differently. They may want and be motivated by different aspects of your careers offering & benefits’ package.  And you want them because diversity = success.

The E2W clients that are making the most progress have made significant changes to their recruitment strategies in the last twelve months. They have:

  1. Relaxed time and cost to hire targets for diverse roles
  2. Recognised that internal direct recruiters need specialist help
  3. Are making diversity recruitment a priority 
  4. In niche areas where there is a shortage of female talent – e.g. front office, technology - they are eager to retain the talent when it’s available.

With these foundations laid, E2W clients are in a much stronger position to meet their diversity commitment now than they were last year.

What about E2W's Charter Commitment?

E2W’s own commitment to the charter was to maintain our leadership team at 75% female representation: we, of course, kept that commitment. We also made additional commitments in line with our business - to read more about these and our progress follow this link. They are, understandably, not covered by the Charter review.

For 2017/18 E2W has doubled the commitment. We have ambitions to help and support 400 women to progress, continue or return to their careers this year. The foundations being laid down by institutions and reported in the Women in Finance Charter review will allow us to achieve this.

If you would like to speak to E2W about the Charter or diversity recruitment, please contact me, Mark Freed.

Mark Freed is CEO of E2W, the company that he set up with Tina twenty years ago to address the issue of gender diversity.  He is passionate about gender parity and encourages more men to join the campaign.  

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