Written by Jodie White, Head of Product & Transformation at Legal and General Mortgage Services
“As we celebrate International Women’s Day today, it’s the ideal time to reflect on the advantages of greater diversity, which, in my opinion, are undeniable. Building a diverse workforce really does encourage different thought processes within the business, helping to challenge legacy attitudes and ultimately, deliver the optimum results for everyone – including our clients and customers too.
“There are many fantastic initiatives in place – such as the Women in Finance Charter – which have done incredible work to boost the number of women in financial services, but there is still much more to be done. Firms must provide better support to nurture more diverse talent. For example, many working women could benefit from the option of flexible working hours. Others might lack the confidence to push themselves forward as a candidate in a traditionally male-dominated field, and may benefit from internal leadership coaching.
“HR departments also have an important and active role to play. Rather than just advertising a role as open to all, HR teams should actively ensure that the recruitment process is free from prejudice and unconscious bias. In practice, this could involve removing sensitive personal information, such as names and gender identity, from the CV screening process. But the inclusion journey starts far before this – one, now-famous, study suggests that men will apply for a job when they meet just 60% of the job description, whereas women will hold off until they meet 100%. We need to empower women to feel confident in applying to jobs of all descriptions, as well as higher positions within their existing firms.
“A gender-diverse workplace is also vital in terms of representation. When women are empowered and given the freedom to be themselves, the result is a workplace better placed to represent the wider world. This action nurtures a positive cycle, where more people from underrepresented backgrounds will feel empowered to step up and contribute their talents to a diverse and supportive industry.”