An additional 45 companies have signed up to the Women in Finance Charter, meaning over 650,000 employees in the UK are now covered by its plan to combat gender inequality in the sector.
Some 205 firms have now signed the Women in Finance Charter.
The announcement followed a Women in Finance lunch briefing in London yesterday (15th March) – involving Virgin Money, HM Treasury and Brightstar's people development director Clare Jupp – where a discussion on the charter's commitments took place.
The news also coincided with the launch of the first Women in Finance Charter Annual Review, which revealed that – in the first year of the charter – 28% of signatories had already met their targets for female representation in senior management.
More than half of signatories (57%) were on track to meet their future targets, while 78% had either increased or maintained the proportion of women in senior management in the reporting period.
The percentage of women among senior managers in the signatory firms also grew by 3% on average in the first year.
“More than 200 major financial institutions have now committed to improve the gender balance at the top of their organisation,” said Prime Minister Theresa May.
“This is an important step forward, not just because this is about fairness, or simply about giving women an equal opportunity to get on, but because our workplaces are greatly enriched by different approaches.
“Time and again, I have seen first-hand how women can bring fresh thinking and new perspectives.
“And I know the commitment that women put into their jobs on a daily basis.
“But, of course, there is still more to be done and I look forward to seeing these companies really delivering on their targets over the next few years.”
The additional 45 signatories include big names such as Goldman Sachs, UBS, Visa, Sainsbury's Bank and the British Business Bank.
Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO at Virgin Money and the government's Women in Finance champion, added: “The Women in Finance Charter now covers over 650,000 of those employed in financial services and I am delighted that the initiative is gathering real momentum.
“Estimates suggest that increased female participation in the labour market and women moving into higher-paid and skilled jobs could increase UK GDP by around 10% and the financial services sector needs to play its part.
“Achieving a balanced workforce at all levels and offering fairness and equality of opportunity for both men and women will not only close the gender pay gap over time, it is an economic necessity if we are to drive innovation, power productivity and continue to compete on a global stage.”
John Glen, economic secretary to the Treasury, congratulated the firms that had recently signed up to the charter.
“I hope the commitment made by our new signatories will inspire others to sign the charter and join us in building a more representative and more inclusive financial services industry.”
The 45 new firms that signed the charter between November 2017 and end of February 2018 are:
- Bank of Ireland (UK) PLC
- Banking Standards Board
- Barcadia Media Ltd
- BFC Bank Limited
- BNP Paribas London CIB
- Brewin Dolphin
- British Business Bank
- British Insurance Brokers' Association
- Brown Shipley
- Cameron and Company Financial Planning Ltd
- Charter Court Financial Services PLC
- City of London Corporation
- Close Brothers Group PLC
- Danske Bank
- Financial Services Compensation Scheme
- Goldman Sachs International
- Hargreaves Lansdown
- House of Beaufort
- Investec Bank PLC
- Investec Wealth & Investment
- Investing Ethically Ltd
- IPC Systems
- Just Group PLC
- LGT Vestra
- Man Group PLC
- Metro Bank PLC
- Motor Insurers' Bureau
- QBE European Operations
- Sainsbury's Bank
- Sesame Bankhall Group
- The Alternative Investment Management Association
- The Board of the Pension Protection Fund
- The British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association
- Wellington Management International Ltd
- Wesleyan Assurance Society
- XL Catlin
What does signing up to the Women in Finance Charter involve?
Signatory firms have committed to implement four key industry actions:
1. Having one member of its senior executive team responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion
2. Setting internal targets for gender diversity in its senior management
3. Publishing progress annually
4. Having an intention to ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to delivery against these internal targets on gender diversity.
The charter was published in March 2016 after a review by Gadhia uncovered that in 2015, women made up only 14% of executive committees in the financial services sector.
HM Treasury welcomes interest in the charter from all firms of any type and size, with the next two deadlines for signing on 30th June and 31st October 2018.
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