27 May 2016 - Post by:Sarah Henchoz
What happens when you take a mix of people (both men and women) with industry experience and views, sit them at a circular dining table next to peers, and serve delicious food and wine? In a word “flow” happens. Conversation, ideas, energy, collaboration, exchange all flow naturally. Certainly this was our experience at our Food for Thought dinner last week, which focused on the latest initiative from HM Treasury to get financial services firms to sign up to the Charter as a pledge to achieve gender balance.
We were delighted to co-host this event with Emily Cox from Virgin Money, who co-authored the report underpinning the Charter entitled “Empowering Productivity – Harnessing the Talents of Women in Financial Services”. Emily was able to give us insights into the journey that preceded publication of the report, and the response subsequent it is launch. So far, the Charter has been received positively, and this was reflected in the various discussions at our dinner. From investment banks to asset managers, building societies to insurers, there is the desire to achieve parity, although nobody thought that aspirational targets could be achieved easily or overnight.
This paper puts together the thoughts and ideas that flowed when we collaborated over dinner. This will be of interest to all organisations, not just those in financial services, as the steps to achieve gender balance are the same as those that will reduce the gender pay gap, which organisations with 250 employees or more will be reporting on in the coming years.
I for one am optimistic that the percentage of women in both the pipeline and in senior positions in Financial Services will look very different in a decade or even less.