11 Oct 2016 11:00am

Major UK firms and organisations set new targets for gender equality

Some of the UK’s major banks and organisations have set out their gender targets for the next decade as part of the Treasury’s Women in Finance charter
Caption: Targets form part of the Treasury’s Women in Finance charter

The Treasury said that of the 72 firms who signed the charter so far, 60 have committed to having at least 30% of women in senior roles by 2021.

Moreover, 13 organisations, including Virgin Money and Legal and General, plan to have the same percentage of men and women in senior roles in less than ten years.

On Tuesday, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), a charter signatory since June, unveiled its diversity and inclusion targets for the next decade, which include plans to increase female representation in its senior leadership team to 45% in 2020 and 50% in 2025.

The FCA also said it plans to increase its black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) representation to 8% by 2020 and 13% in 2025.

Andrew Bailey, FCA’s chief executive, said, “I believe that we are nothing without our people, and a workplace which combines talented people and diverse backgrounds is the best sort.

“Encouraging diverse attitudes and opinions in our daily work makes us a stronger and more effective regulator.”

Businesses who sign the charter pledge to support the progression of women into senior roles in the financial sector by focusing on the executive pipeline and the mid-tier level.

They are also required to publicly report on progress to deliver their targets, in a bid to support transparency and accountability. Each firm is encouraged to set its own targets and implement its strategy for their organisation.

Sturgeon Ventures, the only regulatory incubator who has signed the charter so far, said the government should introduce compulsory flexible working hours in a bid to increase the number of women working in the UK financial services industry.

It also launched a campaign for the government to initiate tax breaks for those start-up companies in which women account for at least half of senior management.

The regulatory host is also one of the 13 organisations that committed to a 50/50 gender representation in its senior management team.

Prime minister Theresa May said, “The UK is a world-leader in financial services, but the sector could do even better if it made the most of many talented women who work in finance. Too few women get to the top and many don’t progress as quickly as they should or they leave the sector completely.

“I want to see a diverse sector run by talented men and women and I look forward to seeing many more businesses promoting women and helping to make the UK the best place in the world to do business.”

Other charter signatories include the Big Four firms EY and PwC, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Lloyd’s of London, London Stock Exchange and Standard Life.

New Financial, a think tank working with the Treasury to monitor the progress of charter signatories, will be publishing the first analysis of the submissions from the first cohort at the end of this month.

A survey of signatories will be published during the second quarter of next year and the first annual Women in Finance Charter Review in December 2017.

The Treasury will also announce further charter signatories next month.

Jessica Fino


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