The Banking Sector needs to be more diverse

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In a report on diversity in the banking profession, the EBA said that the representation of women at management level is still “very low” with just 13.6% of management and 18.9% of supervisory roles respectively filled by women.Under EU legislation all credit institutions and investment firms are required to put a policy in place to promote diversity in management, but only 35% of those companies have already done so. Only two thirds of companies surveyed promote gender diversity, the EBA said.

Gender diversity is a hot topic. The gender pay gap discussion is heating up and the simple fact that there are not enough women at management level in the banking profession is coming under increasing scrutiny. This is in spite of the fact that under EU legislation, all credit institutions and investment firms are required to put a policy in place to promote diversity in management.

A lot of research has also recently been undertaken to understand the impact of diversity at management level. The output of that research is clear - firms do better when women are represented at board level - "companies with diverse executive teams outperform competitors run by men only" source: Women in Business: the Value of Diversity (Grant Thornton 2015).

Why then does diversity in the banking profession continue to be a challenge? Clearly there is no single answer but among other things, a lack of flexibility, childcare responsibilities, the fact that it is and always has been a male dominated environment may be potential barriers for women entering the profession, or progressing to the most senior levels. Therefore organisations need to take a more holistic approach to this - by thinking about who they attract and recruit new employees, how work is allocated and distributed, what criteria are applied to promotions, how senior posts are advertised and filled and so on. Dedicating time and conscious thought processes to these, and many other aspects of how an organisation functions, is the absolute start point to create better gender diversity.

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