Finance companies aim to have women in third of top jobs

Survey of firms that signed up to Treasury’s Women in Finance charter finds average target is 35%, up from current figure of 27%

Financial services companies are aiming to increase the number of women at senior management level to an average of a third over the next five years, a report has shown.

Analysis by the thinktank New Financial looked at internal data from 71 companies that have signed up to the Treasury’s Women in Finance charter, which works with firms to improve gender balance in British financial services.

The companies – which include Barclays, HSBC, and London Stock Exchange Group – shared data confidentially with the Treasury, which anonymised it before passing it to New Financial to analyse.

The report found that the average company target for the number of women at senior management level was 35% by 2020, up from the current average of 27%. The percentage of women at a senior level in the firms analysed, which had not already met their targets, ranged from 10% to 47%. Half of the signatories of the charter have between 20% and 40% of senior roles held by women, and 10 have parity, or more women than men in those roles.

The companies’ ambitions varied greatly, with targets ranging from 21% to 50%, and 15 firms aiming for at least 50% female senior management.

Britain’s banking giants have set the most ambitious gender diversity targets, according to the report, aiming to increase the number of senior women by an average of 40% over the next five years, from an an average of 23%.

Medium-sized businesses, with between 500 to 1,000 employees, faced the steepest climb, with an aim to increase the number of women at senior management level by nearly 50%.

While two-thirds of signatories named a man as their executive accountable for diversity, a fifth of signatories (15 firms) have already met or exceeded their targets.

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, chief executive of Virgin Money and the government’s Women in Finance champion, said: “It is important that the next generation of women working in finance have the opportunity to break the glass ceiling and get to the top.

“Achieving a balanced workforce at all levels in financial services will undoubtedly improve culture, profitability and productivity, and I am delighted to see so many positive role models here today to mentor and encourage women just starting out with their careers.”

The average pay gap between men and women stands at 18.1%, the lowest level since records began, according to the Office for National Statistics.


Frances Perraudin

The GuardianTramp

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