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Mercer advances gender diversity on UK board

Category: Industry News, careers, gender, appointment, Business, companies, encourage, IMPLEMENT

Mercer advances gender diversity on UK board with senior appointments

  • Improving gender balance generates innovation and brings strong business results, says Mercer
  • Companies should implement practices and policies to encourage an even gender split throughout all levels of their organisation

Mercer has announced that its UK board is now comprised of four women and three men following the appointment of Dr Siobhan Martin, UK HR Director and Martine Ferland, Leader of Mercer’s Retirement Business in Europe. They join Fiona Dunsire, UK CEO, and Jane Barker, Chairman of Marsh, a non-executive Director and CEO of Equitas. Jane was the first of the female directors to be appointed to the Board in 2010.

Mercer’s UK Board is led by Sir Peter Middleton (Non-Executive & Chairman), a former Group Chairman of Barclays, rounded out by Simon O’Regan (President, EuroPac Region) and Nic Williams (UK Finance Director). The company employs 2,800 staff across 15 offices in the UK and has made staff diversity and inclusion a cornerstone of its recruitment and operating policies.

“Evidence is mounting that companies with a strong female representation at board and top management level perform better than those without. Inclusion is a commercial imperative and evidence is increasingly showing strong links between a diverse workforce and company financial performance,” said Fiona Dunsire.

“I am very proud to lead such a high quality Board of such strength and commercial success” said Sir Peter Middleton.

According to Deirdre Golden, Principal in Mercer’s Diversity and Inclusion practice, “Diversity in the workplace is crucial to future business success and it is moving up our clients’ agendas. It broadens organisational thinking, brings more opportunity for innovation and delivers new ways of solving client problems. To that end, it has been a focus for Mercer for many years – our HR policies are designed to ensure that talented staff can remain in the workforce as their lives progress through different stages. At Mercer, we believe that employer and employees both benefit from a good work/life balance and flexible working. The recent appointment of Fiona, Siobhan and Martine underlines the success of our approach.”

She continued, “Employers understand that promotions and pay decisions need to be made on ability and performance but recognise that a level playing field is necessary. Robust and accessible HR polices are vital in creating an environment where men and women can thrive in a culture and feel valued and included.”

“If companies are going to capture the value that men and women bring to their business, then they need to develop HR policies that encourage both sexes to work flexibly and remain in the workforce. Our view is that a broader corporate cultural shift across the UK is required. Until flexible working is considered ‘the norm’ in business life and we have moved away from the stereotypical nine-to-five view of working life, then change in this area will be an amble not a sprint.”

Mercer works closely with employers in the UK through its consulting, and through its Global Diversity and Inclusion Networks, and recommends that companies accelerate their efforts to improve gender diversity.

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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