Building diverse workforces, however, can be hard. Progress of women in senior management across financial services (FS) has been slow, from 31% in 2018 to 32% in 2020.
Historic progress has been frustratingly slow
Leading FS organisations have recognised that a fundamental shift will be necessary to move the needle on gender representation.
The pandemic has created opportunities and made existing challenges more acute, reshaping how and where we work while increasing the difficulty, especially for women, of balancing home and professional life.
Amanda Blanc, group CEO of Aviva and Women in Finance Champion, has partnered with Bain & Company to design an industry-first blueprint with practical recommendations and a toolkit of ideas.
The blueprint is based on interviews with leading FS CEOs, Bain analysis, academic research, cross-industry case studies and a survey of more than 100 signatories.
It is structured into four reinforcing pillars.
Women in Finance Charter Blueprint
- Recruitment: A centralised process, interrogated for bias and focused on skills over experience, with a broad talent pool and commitment to interview 50% women for roles at all levels.
- Retention and promotion: Flexible working conditions possible in every role, transparent performance and pay processes, comprehensive infrastructure for parents, and a culture of sponsorship for women.
- Culture and behaviour: Inclusivity and diversity deeply embedded in their purpose, a culture of sharing vulnerability, role modelling flexibility, and making bold interventions to remove unacceptable behaviours.
- Embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI):
A transformational, data-led approach that will evolve with cascaded targets, financially accountable executives, high-quality data, and a well-resourced team to track and monitor progress.
While the blueprint focuses on gender representation, it can be leveraged by organisations of any size as they take action across the whole DEI agenda.