Financial firms aim to have women in top third of positions | Women on the board

Financial services firms aim to increase the number of women at senior management level to one-third on average over the next five years, according to a report.

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

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

The report found that the company’s average target for the number of women in senior leadership was 35% by 2020, up from the current average of 27%. The percentage of women at a higher level in the companies analyzed, which had not yet achieved their objectives, varied from 10% to 47%. Half of the signatories of the charter have between 20% and 40% of senior positions occupied by women, and 10 have parity, ie more women than men in these positions.

Companies’ ambitions varied widely, with targets ranging from 21% to 50%, and 15 companies were 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, up from an average of 23%.

Medium-sized companies, with between 500 and 1,000 employees, saw the greatest increase, with the aim of increasing the number of women at senior management level by almost 50%.

While two-thirds of signatories have named a man as their chief diversity officer, one-fifth of signatories (15 companies) have already met or exceeded their targets.

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Managing Director of Virgin Money and Government Champion for Women in Finance, said: “It is important that the next generation of women working in finance have the opportunity to break through the glass ceiling and reach the Mountain peak.

“Achieving a balanced workforce at all levels of financial services will undoubtedly improve culture, profitability and productivity, and I am thrilled to see so many positive role models here today to mentor and encourage women who are starting their careers.

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

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