In a discussion with Paul Mackenzie-Cummings, at Carmichael Fisher’s recent Financial Services Diversity & Inclusion event, Chair of Stonewall, Jan Gooding, discusses what’s preventing gender balance and why women promote men at a greater rate than they promoted women.


So, I did a very fascinating piece of analysis where we looked at the progression of men and women, because we have the data on gender, grade by grade by grade by grade… and what was very fascinating was you began at 60:40 in favour of women at the bottom.

Women promoted men at a greater rate than they promoted women, so what was a revelation… this idea that this is something men are doing to women, this is what I’m saying, it’s systemic.

It’s about what we’re taught to value, it’s about how the culture acknowledges people’s whole lives and so women have as many assumptions and prejudices and biases about what does a leader look like, she’s going to go on maternity leave, whatever you like.

So, what’s very fascinating is by the time you get to middle management, with the rate of progression being in favour of men, and every time people left in equal numbers and I checked, equal distribution of talent so there wasn’t a great drain of talented women going on at all, there were equal numbers of men and women of exactly the same sort of talent, we replaced them mainly with men.

So, the recruitment process in, as you went through, as you had your natural attrition. So, it’s absolutely systemic, just on gender. The rest we’re not even thinking about.

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Diversity and inclusion is not just about numbers. It should be about bringing in professionals with a variety of cultures, background and experiences to challenge and change the status quo and help your company explore new products and markets. Hiring the right talent becomes increasingly important in today’s globalised business environment, where companies must navigate differences between languages, cultures and customs.

For a confidential conversation about your executive hiring challenges, feel free to connect with me directly here.

By Juliet Hardingham, Senior Consultant

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Juliet Hardingham

Senior Consultant

As part of the financial services practice Juliet Hardingham works with a team of experts who support clients globally in four primary segments which are: Insurance & Insurtech, Retail and Challenger Banking, Payments & FinTech and Private Equity.