The United Kingdom struggles with gender diversity in their financial services industry. Despite the best efforts by many corporations to fix the problem, a recent Treasury Committee hearing has pointed to an unconscious bias that has resulted in the stagnation of female hires and promotions. Nicky Morgan, the Treasury Committee chair is currently looking to improve diversity in a financial services field that “employs more than one million people nationwide, according to figures from the City of London Corporation.”
Issues discussed at the hearing included “ensuring a pipeline of senior women at financial services companies, improving schemes for women returning from maternity leave and encouraging flexible working practices across organisations.” While instituting these policies may help the larger issue of bias still remains. An example of this is, according to FNL London, “the number one reason why there isn’t sufficient recruitment of senior women is that the talent pool of senior women isn’t sufficient”. This is a big difference from the response senior women gave with only 14% saying the same.
The panellists did note that a high number of the largest firms have been focusing on increasing diversity for years. The asset management sector in particular was praised as leading on this front. The panel pointed to the investment industry’s Diversity Project, which was set up in 2016 by a group of firms to promote inclusivity within the sector; M&G Investments’ return to work scheme; and Aviva’s equal parental leave policy as examples.