Last night I attended a seminar on Ethics and Values – with specific focus of getting more women into Board positions in Banks and FTSE 100 companies. The event was hosted by Women in Banking and Finance – a Not-For-Profit Organisation that over the last 30 years has provided tools and support for women furthering their career in the world of Finance.
The core message was this – research has shown that women make more ‘ethical’ decisions, and only through redressing the gender balance at Board level can we expect major corporations to make more ethically sound business decisions. The existing corporate model is flawed, as evidenced by the relatively short life-span of major corporations in the developed world. There is an obvious need for businesses to adapt and change if they are to develop. And such changes should be driven by organisations that feature an equal split of men and women at a senior level, because only with an equal split can we expect to see a diverse spread of business beliefs and creeds.
It is a compelling argument, and an important one to engage in, for an industry that is still seen as male-centric. Nearly half of the users on CityJobs.com are women, so clearly there is both considerable, imbedded female workforce AND a great desire by women to work in Banking and Finance. And yet that is frequently unrecognised – the stereotype of a City worker as white male prevails. There are clearly many women working in this industry, so how do they rise through the ranks to the senior positions? Clearly it is not a skills issue – women match men pound-for-pound in that department. So is it an institutional flaw? An attitudinal tide that has yet to turn? An article in the Evening Standard last week suggested that women are leaving University with lower expectations than men as they enter the workforce. So what hope for women to make it to the Board if even at a grass-roots level they are being taught that the glass ceiling has been reinforced with double-glazed tempered glass?
Perhaps sites like ours can try to change opinion, engage in debates about the issue, and try to promote The City as a genuine long-term career opportunity for women. You’ll notice that our re-launch features branding that incorporates men and women in equal measure. Ultimately we are only a small cog in the recruitment wheel, but if we can change perceptions even slightly then it will be worthwhile. However, with organisations like WIBF at the vanguard of the movement the cause is in good hands and if more women find themselves in Board-level positions it will be in no-doubt down to the work of this group.
by Russell ByrneRead More