Submitted by Sestini & Co
| on Wed, 07/01/2020 - 18:29 | In Accounting and systems
As signatories since its inception in 2016, Sestini & Co were proud to join a well-attended online event on 23 June 2020 to discuss the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter Annual Review 2019, which analyses the data from the largest cohort yet, at 187 signatories.
Many new members have joined since the beginning of this year and the Charter now has over 370 signatories, covering an incredible 900,000 employees across the financial sector.
The review monitors the progress of the signatories against their Charter targets, as well as holding them to account on the four Charter principles:
- To have one member of the senior executive team who is responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion
- To set internal targets for gender diversity in senior management
- To publish progress annually against these targets on the company’s website
- To have an intention to ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to delivery against these internal targets.
Chaired by Yasmine Chinwala, partner at New Financial and one of the authors of the report, speakers included John Glen MP, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister; Gwyneth Nurse, Director of Financial Services, HM Treasury; and Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England.
Levelling up the workplace
In his keynote address, John Glen emphasised that ‘levelling up’ in all areas – in terms of race, social deprivation and gender – in order to build a totally inclusive workforce, is at the heart of this government’s agenda, noting the importance of embedding flexible working needs in the company mindset – vital for the retention and promotion of women.
He praised Charter progress made already, with four out of five signatories meeting or exceeding their initial targets for women in senior roles, and three out of four increasing or maintaining the proportion of women in the workforce. However, recognising the disproportionate impact of the current Covid-19 crisis on working women, he urged signatories to be aware of this as we come back to the ‘new normal’, taking on the challenges of pipeline and the number of women reaching senior leadership positions.
Diverse companies are more successful
Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, the official Women in Finance Champion, said the review acted as a very important indicator of where financial businesses stand at the moment, noting that the most diverse and inclusive companies – those who treat employees as stakeholders in their organisation’s ongoing success – are also the most attractive to work for. There is now a risk to shareholders and stakeholders of lower returns and lower sustainability for those firms who aren’t paying attention to diversity and gender balance.
Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, echoed this sentiment, whilst praising the WIF Charter for its ability to turn words into actions by holding members to their target commitments. ‘WIF has been instrumental in changing the approach of institutions, including the Bank of England… It’s important because a more diverse Bank of England is a better place to work in. We serve the people of this country and need to bear more resemblance to the people we serve.’
The growing importance of the Charter in the ‘new normal’
Gwyneth Nurse, Director of Financial Services, HM Treasury, made the point that the Charter is growing exponentially – with another 40 signatories in the past six months. When the Charter launched – only three years ago – she said business people were surprised to see the issue of gender equality on the agenda. Now, when she meets with companies, she finds nothing but people wanting to engage. She favours setting high Charter levels then holding firms against them, and urged maintaining and promoting lessons learned during the Covid-19 crisis on how creativity and productivity can be spurred by new ways of thinking around diversity and flexible working.
To close, Yasmine suggested that the idea of targets pioneered through the Charter could be tuned to address other diversity strands and to lever discussions that may be flagging on this count. At the moment, she noted, we don’t ask signatories about BAME staff representation, but she suspected that many of them are already using the charter targets more widely to include this.
To view the Annual Review, please visit:
Find out more about our commitment to the Women in Finance Charter here: https://www.sestiniandco.com/about-sestini-co/
We are actively looking to work with clients and referrers who value inclusivity and diversity, if you would like to discuss this further, please contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01761 241 861.