Tuesday 23 June 2020 8:59 am

The City must promote more women to top jobs, says Treasury

The Treasury wants more ambitious diversity targets in the City as the pace of finance firms hiring women to top jobs is still too slow, according to a new review. 

The Treasury launched its Women in Finance charter in 2016 in a bid to improve diversity in Britain’s financial sector, where just 14 per cent of executive committee members were women in 2015. 

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Over 370 firms with more than 900,000 employees between them signed up to the charter, committing themselves to voluntary diversity targets. 

But a review by think tank New Financial of 187 of the signatories found that only a third have met or exceeded their own targets. 

Women now make up 32 per cent of senior management on average, the review found, still short of the Treasury’s 33 per cent target.

“I am determined to see the financial services sector make progress on this,” said City minister John Glen.

“With the scale of challenges and opportunities facing financial services, we cannot afford to miss out on the best talent and leadership,” he said. 

Just 26 signatories have set themselves the goal of achieving parity between men and women in senior roles, the review found. Almost 60 per cent have set a target of female representation of a third or above. 

A third of the charter’s signatories believe that linking pay to diversity targets has been effective, New Financial found.

“The Covid crisis has shown just how quickly companies can adapt,” the think tank said. 

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“There is an opportunity now to challenge legacy thinking in all areas (not just flexible working), cement diversity as a strategic business priority and accelerate the pace of change.”

Catherine McGuinness, City of London policy committee chair, said: “This review shows signatories are moving in the right direction, but we need to increase the pace.”