Driving cultural change is of increasing priority to finance firms

This shift in wanting to foster a deeper cultural change was highlighted in Jayne-Anne Gadhia’s review, which recommended a series of positive actions the financial services sector could take to improve inclusion in the workplace – including ensuring pay structures are transparent, implementing good flexible working practices and investing in supportive managers.

The government claimed these recommendations would be key to fostering change in the senior levels of the financial services industry and has launched a “Women in finance charter” committing to take the recommendations on board.

Rachel Davis, Armstrong Craven’s deputy CEO, claimed that gender diversity has been a major priority within the financial services sector for some time and that Lord Davies’ report on women on boards had ensured it remained at the top of the HR agenda.

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“A number of banks are already targeted with providing a diverse candidate slate for every hire with KPIs linked to bonus,” Davis said. “This is increasingly being extended to include line managers as well. “Where we are seeing a lot of interest at the moment is around the need for insight to help firms take a much bigger step and actually change the culture of the organisation.

“For example, a lot of the issues previously facing women in the workplace now apply to parents – irrespective of gender – and those who care for ill or elderly relatives. Similarly, there is the need to ensure great inclusion for the LBGT community. But most of all, companies need to focus on driving diversity of thought – ensuring businesses embrace people from different sectors and backgrounds.

“The financial services industry is still some way behind consumer organisations, but there is serious evidence that an industry dogged by a reputation for previously fostering a macho culture is committed to change.”

Meanwhile, South Korean mobile giant Samsung wants to restructure its internal operations in a bid to create a startup culture and, while it sounds like the corporate equivalent of a mid-life crisis, it actually makes sense.

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