July 2017 • Topic: Driving diversity • by Yasmine Chinwala
HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter launched in March 2016 and now has more than 140 signatories. Our latest report is based on a survey of more than 80 firms that have signed up and assesses the concrete impact of the Charter is having on how they approach diversity, the benefits they are experiencing - and the challenges they face in meeting their Charter commitments.
Download the full report here
The UK government launched the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter in March 2016 to encourage the financial services industry to improve gender balance in senior management. By March 2017, 122 firms had signed up to the Charter. These firms employ more than 500,000 people in the UK and cover almost half of the financial sector.
The number of signatories illustrates how seriously the sector is taking the Charter. But what impact has joining the Charter had on signatory companies? What benefits are they realising and what challenges do they face in meeting their Charter commitments? New Financial surveyed Charter signatories in May 2017 to answer these questions.
The highlights of the survey include:
* Two thirds of the signatories surveyed believe signing the Charter will drive permanent sustainable change in their company and across the financial services industry
* The most popular reasons companies chose to sign up to the Charter are to demonstrate leadership on gender diversity and to do the right thing
* Being a signatory is not just about paying lip service – for 62% of respondents joining the Charter has led to specific actions to support their gender diversity efforts
* The Charter is having a positive impact on wider diversity efforts at signatory firms, not just on female representation – nearly 70% are considering extending the Charter principles to other diversity characteristics, and nearly half said the Charter has prompted them to take specific actions in their approach to non-gender diversity
* Fine tuning the mechanism linking pay to gender diversity targets is the most challenging of the Charter requirements, and signatories are very concerned about publishing poor numbers or even missing their targets
* The biggest challenge signatories face in meeting their Charter commitments and driving sustainable change is to ensure that gender diversity remains high on the business agenda despite all the other pressures on the financial services industry
New Financial believes that diversity in its broadest sense is not only an essential part of running a sustainable business but a fundamental part of addressing cultural change in capital markets. We provided data to Jayne-Anne Gadhia’s government-backed review of senior women in financial services, Empowering Productivity, and we are working with HM Treasury to conduct an annual review of the HMT Women in Finance Charter to monitor the progress of charter signatories.
As part of our aim to move the diversity debate forward, we host a series of seminars and workshops on different aspects of diversity, and we publish surveys and research. If you have any feedback on this report or are interested in taking part in our events programme, please contact Yasmine Chinwala on firstname.lastname@example.org