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Diversity and Inclusion Should be on Every Business’s Agenda

By Sam Moxham, HR Director, Progeny 22nd November 2019

It might surprise you to know that more women than men start their careers in the financial services industry, yet they are falling away at middle management level and not progressing to the top jobs. In my 17 years working in HR, I have seen too few women applying for senior positions, perhaps due to a lack of encouragement from their managers, or from the small number of female senior advisors to look to for guidance.

According to the Women in Finance 2016 Empowering Productivity report, “Only 50% of women, compared to 70% of men believe they have an equal opportunity to advance regardless of their personal characteristics or circumstances.”

Historically, women have not been given the same opportunities as men, and this is especially the case within the finance industry. Despite the high number of young female graduates joining firms, these women do not progress beyond the mid-tier, or they leave the sector entirely. In fact, only 14% of executive positions in the financial industry are held by women. This needs to change.

Diversity and inclusion are simple concepts – to have the right people, regardless of gender or any other demographic factors, in the right roles is key to having a successful business.

In response to Jayne-Anne Gadhia’s review into the lack of representation of women in senior and managerial roles in the financial services industry, HM Treasury launched the Women in Finance Charter. This Charter is a commitment by HM Treasury and the Charter’s signatory firms to ensure that we are working together to build a more balanced and fair industry. I believe that the implementation of this Charter is an excellent step in the right direction towards equality in the finance industry, encouraging businesses to really take a look at their practise to consider what they can do to improve their support of women in the workplace.

“Achieving a balanced workforce at all levels in Financial Services will undoubtedly improve culture, behaviour, outcomes, profitability and productivity.”
– Jayne-Anne Gadhia

Any firm that signs this Charter commits to supporting the progression of women into senior roles, changing attitudes towards flexible working, and focusing on the recruitment, promotion and retention of female staff. In the Charter, signatory firms are required to publicly report on their progress in delivering numerical and timely targets, offering the transparency and accountability needed to drive change.

Progeny becomes a proud signatory of the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter

Progeny is a proud signatory to the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter, and we are committed to implementing the recommendations to encourage and support the progression of women in our organisation. I have personally been appointed as the senior executive responsible for leading gender diversity and inclusion at Progeny. As a company we have set targets to increase the proportion of women on our Executive Board from 37.5% today, 44% by 2020, 50% by 2022, and to increase the number of women in senior roles more generally across the organisation. In support of these goals, we will review gender in relation to pay to ensure fairness and equality are reflected in salaries. We will pursue a gender mix in recruitment shortlists, particularly in senior management roles giving a more balanced pool of talented candidates. We will also review maternity and paternity policies with a view to offering employees a supportive and progressive approach to parenting leave. To ensure equal opportunities we will provide more flexible working hours to support carers and professional study, and will encourage a gender-balanced industry through award submissions, speaking and publishing opportunities. I think it’s so important to be aware, supportive and proactive when it comes to ensuring diversity and equality in the workplace, and at Progeny we are dedicated to holding these values to the highest standard. We look forward to working towards our targets.

I believe that by achieving a balanced workforce of men and women working across all tiers of the financial industry will not only improve culture, behaviour, outcomes, profitability and productivity, but will also address the importance of equality as a fundamental human right. Progeny recognises that equality across our organisation is vital to our success. We are committed to achieving further opportunities for women and believe that everyone should be able to reach their full potential in the workplace. We look forward to sharing more updates and opportunities in the next few months as we work towards our target.