Diversity in the top levels of financial services continues to be a challenge for the sector. According to a New Financial Report, just 23% of board members and 14% of executive committee members were women across UK-regulated financial services companies in 2016.
A diverse leadership team can have a positive impact on the bottom line of an organisation. Research by MSCI ESG indicated that companies with strong female leadership generated a Return on Equity of 10.1% per year versus 7.4% without.
Improving diversity is not a quick process though, especially at leadership levels where experience is a must in order to succeed in the role. So what can financial services organisations do to ensure they are moving in the right direction when it comes to improving diversity?
1. Encourage diversity from the top
It is imperative for those in leadership positions in the City to actively advocate, encourage and facilitate diversity policies. Whilst gender diversity is often a priority for many CEOs, it is important to ensure this filters down throughout the organisation in order to drive change. Effective communication is therefore key to ensure the workforce is aware of policies committed to encouraging more women to take up management positions within financial services.
2. Introduce mentoring programmes
Having a great mentor can make a real difference to an individual’s career within the finance sector. Introducing mentoring schemes, particularly those aimed at supporting female talent in the organisation, can help women to move forward in their career. Mentors don’t just need to be female, both men and women have a role to play in offering support and sharing knowledge and advice to women in the workplace. The introduction of structured mentoring programmes can therefore be a big boost to helping female talent progress.
3. Develop the leaders of tomorrow, today
An important way of improving diversity in the City is to invest in great female talent at earlier stages of their career. Building a pipeline of qualified and experienced women should in turn lead to increased diversity at leadership levels as they make their way up the career ladder. Ensure there are professional development schemes in place so women can develop the skills they need to become experienced and competent leaders of the future.
The financial services sector is undergoing a period of ongoing change and uncertainty. It is therefore an ideal time for organisations to prepare for the challenges ahead by ensuring they are investing in building the diverse management teams of tomorrow.
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To find out more, or to discuss your recruitment needs in this field, please contact your local consultant.