Following HM Treasury’s publication of the signatories to the "Women in finance charter" Jon Terry, UK financial services people leader at PwC, said:
“It is encouraging that so many firms have signed up to the Charter and have made a public commitment to improve gender diversity in the financial sector.
“But signing the charter is only the first step – to comply many firms will need to make significant changes. Having a senior executive responsible for diversity is commonplace, but many firms do not currently link the pay of their executive teams with performance against diversity targets, and some are uncomfortable publicly disclosing these targets.
“Linking targets to pay is particularly challenging as gender targets are, by their nature, likely to be long term, while the majority of pay decisions are made annually. Firms will need to find a robust and transparent way of aligning these two timescales.
“The targets will only be achieved if diversity is central to all aspects of a business – including recruitment, pay, talent identification and access to training and opportunities. Without this wider focus, it will be challenging to deliver sustainable change in this area.
"It will be news for some that HM Treasury will update the signatory list in October to include links to firms' targets "as published on their websites". The original Charter pledge referred to firms "publish[ing] progress annually against [internal targets for gender diversity] on [their] websites". However, there was no mention of timeframes. Bringing in an October 2016 deadline means signatory firms now need to reflect on their target-setting and make plans for disclosure in the next few months.
"Following this initial disclosure of targets, firms will need to report progress against these targets in October 2017. By the end of 2017 an annual review will be published assessing how signatory firms have progressed in delivering against their internal targets for gender diversity.
“Gender is an important aspect of many firms' diversity goals, but it shouldn’t be their only focus. We hope that the increased focus on gender diversity in the financial services industry will have a knock on effect across all aspects of diversity and inclusion.”
Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner at PwC from 1 July 2016, commented on PwC signing the Women in Finance charter:
“We are proud to have signed the charter and support the focus and accountability it will bring to help change the gender balance in financial organisations. We are committed to equality in the workplace and see diversity as a business imperative – it leads to better business decisions and creates an environment where everyone can reach their full potential.”
PwC has already taken bold steps to ignite change in its own business. This includes:
- We were one of the first firms to publicly report our gender pay gap
- We set and publish gender and ethnicity targets
- We scrapped UCAS scores as entry criteria for our graduate roles
- We have a number of programmes to support greater equality. Including our Back to Business programme, female sponsorship programme, reverse mentoring and our ‘Open Mind’ unconscious bias training for all of our staff
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