By Chris Widdison
Chris Widdisonis an Associate Director, with the City Division of CMC Consulting Ltd. With over 10 years in financial recruitment, Chris specialises in recruiting for FTSE banking groups, investment managers, general & life insurance companies and diversified financial services providers.
Gender diversity is a hot topic at the moment, especially within the Banking and Financial Services market, with the likes of Lloyds Banking Group and HSBC committing to raising the number of women in senior roles to 40% and 25% respectively.
While the European Commissioner, Viviane Reding, would like mandatory quotas set for the percentage of female board members, an initiative which has already been implemented in countries such as Belgium, France, Italy, Norway and Spain, instead, in the UK, Lord Davies has introduced a target of 25% by 2015 for the FTSE 100.
So, what are the factors that may have hindered employers from reaching these type of figures up until now? Many reasons have been suggested; pay inequalities, lack of work life balance, gender stereotypes, and cost of childcare, and perhaps the fact that there are companies that prefer to promote from within which only have a smaller pool of female candidates than their male counterparts.
There are distinct advantages in creating a gender diverse mix of senior management, including increased financial performance as evidenced by multiple studies. With a shortage of key skills continually being reported, untapped female resources could be the solution, with suggestions that this could immensely increase economic growth in the UK. The Grant Thornton International Business Report 2013, found that the number of women studying at university have overtaken men in 60 countries, meaning that the number of educated female candidates to close these skill gaps is increasing.
While the idea of enforced quotas has had mixed reviews, with fears that this could result in tokenism with little tangible change, targets for diversity have been better received. However, no matter how the step towards gender diversity comes about, promoting a diverse workforce with equal opportunities can never be a bad thing.
At CMC Consulting, we regularly enforce this message to both our consultants and our clients. We aim to attract a diverse pool of candidates for each opportunity and our process for short-listing is based entirely on the required competencies, having interviewed each candidate on a competency basis. In order for employers to ensure they are attracting a diverse range of candidates and that their policies really are conducive to equality, strategies they could consider include:
- Awareness training on different management styles
- Childcare benefits
- Consistent monitoring of equal opportunities policies
- Employee networking groups
- Flexitime, work from home and virtual workplaces
- Mentoring/sponsorship schemes
- Reintroduction training after periods of extended leave such as maternity / paternity
- Setting salaries based on job title and responsibilities rather than at an individual level
- Team building activities
Their latest jobs include:
- Deputy Head of Strategic Analysis, West Yorkshire - £100,000 to £125,000 per year
- Head of Financial Planning and Analysis, West Midlands -£90,000 per year
- Commercial Finance Manager , Hertfordshire - £55,000 to £65,000 per year
- Management Accountant, St Albans - £35,000 to £40,000 per year
- Commercial Finance Analyst, London - £125 to £175 per day
For more jobs click here