What if I told you that one of Europe’s biggest supporters of workplace diversity also suggests that women trying to juggle a career in M&A with a young family should “consider moving into a less time-intensive business such as human resources for a few years”?  Incredible as it may seem, that’s the controversial nature of Jean-Yves Hocher, CEO of France’s Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank (CACIB).

“In 2012, Crédit Agricole Group set a target of having women make up 25% of its management ranks.” Hocher immediately embraced it, and has since used his position to grow female representation in higher levels of the company.  Currently the number of women in management ranks sits at 29%, with Hocher looking to grow that number to 50% in 3 years. “I’m convinced that gender diversity drives performance and innovation.” Hocher explains.  “This is why we put in place a system to track and report the breakdown of men and women within our organisation and to set targets accordingly.”

In addition to management ranks, Hocher is also looking to grow female representation in the bank’s 100 person strong management committee.  As of February 2017, the percentage stood at 19%.  Despite the low number, the committee has actually grown steadily over the past 2 years from 13% in 2015. According to FNLondon, “The chief executive is aiming for 30% female representation at management committee level within the next few years. He has asked executive committee members to set gender diversity targets in individual business lines.”

The biggest weakness the company has is keeping women who recently have children.  Although controversial, Hocher advises women with newborns to switch to Human Resources if they currently operate in time intensive groups for 5 or 6 years.  The CEO argues that “When you join the bank you have two routes: stay an expert in your business line and then build a career that way, or become a manager and build your career between different business lines”  The switch for Hocher, won’t hinder your growth in the long term and can be used to gain experience in multiple business units.


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