In celebration of International Women’s Day today, Boyd Carson, Partner at Sapphire Capital Partners LLP, shares his insight. According to Carson, in these highly challenging economic times, where venture capital activity is in a lull and the regulatory environment is becoming ever more complex, our survival depends on providing a high-quality service that can only be delivered by talented individuals.
The war for talent is… real. Having the right people on the team is fundamental for maintaining competitiveness, ensuring high levels of productivity, and delivering innovation.
So, how do we attract and retain real talent? By extending our reach, thinking outside the box, and overthinking our people as well as those who we consider bringing into our team. Collecting data, both empirical and subjective, is essential to obtain a clear picture of what an individual is capable of. Good data helps us find out what works and also provides good accountability for our decisions. When leadership is committed to hiring only the most real talent, that is when teams and the ensuing collaboration make a real impact.
It is not only up to the leaders to ensure the right people are present; the entire team gets involved. The most junior member has sway, at the very least, by holding leaders to account. In Vasiliki’s earlier blog, “The benefits of women in Venture Capital”, where she presents empirical evidence proving the importance of operating with gender-balanced teams, we can appreciate why diversity is beneficial. I, in my roles as husband, father, and founder of a small (but growing) financial services company, appreciate the challenges we face in attaining gender parity because such inequality goes way back in time; in
order to tackle this, we all must make continuous efforts to change our unconscious biases in a very deliberate way.
This means that gender inclusivity needs to be appreciated throughout our entire existence, from the family unit to the educational system and then the workplace.
And here are some interesting facts to gain further perspective. In a recent HM Treasury Women in Finance meeting, Cheryl Giovannoni of the Girls Day School Trust presented the following data:
· It will take another 168 years to close the gender pay gap.
· Only 17% of the tech sector employees today are female.
· 70% of UK school girls want to receive more financial education.
So, as a male who built a career in a sector primarily shaped by males, I must speak up not as the apologetic representative of my gender but because attaining gender parity and closing the pay gap affects me directly in my professional capacity and in my personal life. It just makes sense.
The greatest obstacle in my opinion facing us in addressing gender inequality is that men believe that the gender issue is not a discussion for us to partake in. The next step is for the passive majority, i.e., we men in the workplace – to start becoming even more vocal in support of our female colleagues.