It’s not very often we hear good news coming out of the financial sector at the moment, so it is a welcome move that some of the country’s leading financial institutions are signing up to a pioneering scheme that should see at least 30 per cent of their top jobs going to women.
The Women in Finance strategy aims to address the skewed gender balance in the sector, which sees men far outnumbering women at the highest levels.
And it’s not before time. Despite modern gender equality laws, women remain at an unfair disadvantage in the workplace. This is partly through childbirth and partly through discrimination – conscious or otherwise – against those who have childcare commitments or who have ‘lost time’ and therefore experience through having a family.
Research has revealed a shocking gender pay gap still exists in the financial services industry, with women earning less than two thirds as much as their male equivalents.
So it is encouraging that big players such as Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Life have acknowledged this problem exists. But what is even better is the fact they have come up with a serious plan to do something about it over the next five years by subscribing to the UK government charter.
The call of Virgin Money chief Jayne-Anne Gadhia for all companies across the sector to follow suit and implement gender diversity targets and equal recruitment opportunities should be backed. This initiative will not solve the problem on its own but by taking the lead, companies can kick-start a change in attitude and approach across the sector that could eventually see widespread progress made to rid us of this unacceptable inequality.