Over the past year, D&I has been discussed more widely and on a more global scale. These discussions have occurred due to situations such as, the Hollywood gender pay gap scandal – male actors are being paid $1m more per film than their female counterparts, and the racial injustices that happened in the US, notably the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. Conversations around the racial injustice situation in the US led to the Black Lives Matter movement and this in turn has resulted in more open conversations in both the workplace and at home.
Dividends, dollars, and disproportionation
These conversations impact all sectors, but with regards to the Financial Services sector this is particularly key. Traditionally the market has been perceived as being a middle class, white male dominated industry and therefore robust D&I policies are essential in ensuring the growth of the sector with the next generation of professionals.
There is no doubt that diversity and inclusion are paramount to the success and strength of all organisations. However, many would argue that they feel D&I within Financial Services has for many years been a tick box exercise for employers and not something that has been looked at as part of a wider business growth strategy.
The Female Millennial Report by PWC highlights that 85% of respondents believe that an employer’s D&I policy is an important factor when deciding whether to accept an offer of employment or not. An article published by the Financial Times, stipulated that as of today just 10 out of 297 leaders in top 3 roles within FTSE 100 companies have ethnic minority backgrounds. The number of people from AfricanCaribbean decent, sits at zero, despite public commitment to increase diversity within senior roles. This highlights that more still needs to be done for true equality.
Race Equality Week is a UK-wide initiative, taking place between the 1st and 7th of February, uniting hundreds of organisations and individuals in activity to address the barriers facing race equality in the workplace.The events of 2020, including the Black Lives Matter movement and disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minority communities, has heightened public consciousness of race inequality. Now there is a need to galvanize and maximise impact through a nation wide collaboration for real change.
“Why do we need Race Equality Week? Quite simply because we do not have race equality and, until we do, we have to do everything we can to achieve it through the kind of action and collaboration that Race Equality Week can mobilise. I urge every organisation to participate.” – Nicholas Cheffings, Senior Counsel – Hogan Lovells
The time for change is… Now!
For there to be real change in the financial services sector, organisations need to not tolerate D&I but in fact embrace it and make it part of their core business outcomes. Obligations under the Equality Act 2010, mandatory gender pay gap reporting for employers with 250+ staff, increasing numbers of international clients and media focus on the low number of women and individuals from BAME backgrounds in Senior roles all contribute to the focus on D&I with the Financial Services market and all push for positive change within the workplace.
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