HM Treasury has issued its latest Women in Finance Charter signatory survey with 65% of respondents saying that the charter has driven permanent change in their organisation. It is helping them maintain focus on increasing female representation in the sector as they move into the next phase of their diversity efforts.

The Charter was first introduced seven years ago and now has over 400 hundred signatory companies and organisations with over a million employees in the financial service sector. Its principles are:

  • Having one member of the senior executive team who is responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion.
  • Setting internal targets for gender diversity in senior management.
  • Publishing progress annually against these targets on a page on the company's website dedicated to their Charter commitment.
  • Having the intention to ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to delivery against these internal targets on gender diversity.

 The survey is taken every two years and this year’s results show that:

  • The most commonly applied Charter principle is to appoint an accountable executive, with 64% of respondents having achieved this.
  • Whilst 60% of signatories feel the charter is changing the face of the sector, 25% expect it to take another five years and 15% another ten years.
  • 80% of signatories said increasing female representation was significantly strategically important to their organisation. The main reason for this was to improve decision-making and counter groupthink i.e. the phenomenon that occurs when the desire for group consensus overrides people's common sense desire to present alternatives or express an unpopular opinion. This causes people to set aside their own personal beliefs.
  • The linking of targets to pay remains the singularly most challenging of the four charter principles to put into practice, though improvements have been made with a 5% increase since the last survey in 2021.
  • Continuing challenges include the shortage of diverse talent in recruitment pools and coming through the ranks, with female representation and ethnic diversity cited as the most common priorities raised by survey signatories. Other issues included the current economic climate and a growing list of diversity priorities, the latter of which has become even more important since 2021.
  • The top two reasons given as to why it is important that there are more women in senior management were:
    • To improve decision-making.
    • To attract and retain talent.

Survey respondents were asked to name the key ways in which being a Charter signatory had impacted their organisations:

  • They said that maintaining focus on improving female representation came at the top of the list.
  • This was followed by promoting the discussion of female representation at the highest levels, which has been a common theme across all of these surveys.

External link

HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter: signatory survey 2023 

Squirrel ad

Are you enjoying our content? 

Thousands of accountants and advisers and their clients use as their primary TAX resource.

Register now to receive our FREE weekly SME Tax News update