Improving Diversity in Financial Services

The issue of diversity and gender equality in the financial services sector has come under the spotlight recently, with financial firms being urged to sign up to the Women in Finance Charter and help end the era of women being underpaid, underrepresented and undervalued.

The call for more action came from Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Barclay, as he spoke at the recent Women in Finance Awards.

“For too long many women have been underpaid, underrepresented and undervalued compared to men and it is events like the Women in Finance Awards which rightly shine the spotlight on female excellence and achievement in financial services,” commented Stephen Barclay. “I want to congratulate all of the winners and I wish them luck for their future careers.”

Women in Finance Charter

The 'Women in Finance Charter' is a commitment by HM Treasury and signatory firms to work together to build a more balanced and fair industry, and reflects the Government’s aspiration to see gender balance at all levels across financial services firms.

Looking at the Charter in more detail, it:

  • commits firms to supporting the progression of women into senior roles in the financial services sector by focusing on the executive pipeline and the mid-tier level;
  • recognises the diversity of the sector and that firms will have different starting points – each firm should therefore set its own targets and implement the right strategy for their organisation;
  • requires firms to publicly report on progress to deliver against these internal targets to support the transparency and accountability needed to drive change. 

By signing up to the Charter, financial services firms are making a commitment to implement four key industry actions:

  • having one member of its senior executive team who is responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion;
  • setting internal targets for gender diversity in its senior management;
  • publishing progress annually against these targets in reports on the company’s website;
  • having an intention to ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to delivery against these internal targets on gender diversity.

According to the Government, over 120 firms have signed up to the Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter so far, covering over half a million members of staff – more than half of the financial sector staff.

Improving Diversity

As well as celebrating the success of women in finance, the Economic Secretary emphasised that firms should also think about improving different types of diversity.

“The Charter does not prevent firms focusing on other aspects of diversity, and if we are to meet the economic and political challenges ahead, we need a meritocracy which promotes diversity across all areas, including LGBT, class, and geography,” Stephen Barclay explained.

The Charter sits among a set of wider Government reforms to improve gender equality in the work place, which include the £5 million fund for ‘returnships’ announced at Budget 2017 and making gender pay gap reporting mandatory from April this year.

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If you work in the financial services sector and have been subjected to discrimination or unfair treatment then contact our specialist employment lawyers today.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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