Report: HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter – Annual Review 2021
June 2022 • Diversity • by Yasmine Chinwala, Jennifer Barrow and Sheenam Singha
This report offers unique insight into what Charter signatory firms – from across the financial services industry – are doing to boost the proportion of women in senior ranks, who has hit and missed their targets, how they are monitoring the impacts of Covid on their workforce and increasing their collection of diversity data. The data provides important benchmarking for signatories and non-signatories alike.
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2021 was another big year for the Charter, with a third of signatories due to hit their targets.
Highlights of the review:
1. Meeting targets: More than a third (37%) of the 209 signatories analysed in this review have met their targets for female representation in senior management, and a further 41% that have targets with future deadlines said they are on track to meet them.
2. A flat picture overall: For the first time, the average level of female representation has remained flat, at 33% in 2021 compared to 2020. While two-thirds of signatories (66%) either increased or maintained their proportion of women in senior management, at the remaining third the proportion fell – the highest number of signatories (70) to report a drop in female representation since the launch of the Charter.
3. Fewer misses in 2021: Of the 76 signatories with a 2021 deadline, 45 hit their targets and the remaining 31 missed, down from 44 in 2020. Of the 31 that missed, 19 were close – either within five percentage points or five appointments of hitting their target.
4. A step change in ambition on targets: Signatories’ ambitions for their targets have leapt forward with nearly half (48%) setting a target of at least 40%, corresponding with HM Treasury’s desire for alignment with the FTSE Women Leaders review.
5. Top actions driving change: Signatories still place the greatest emphasis on altering recruitment practices, but they are increasingly focused on developing their own female talent. Some firms are applying the Charter principles of setting targets, introducing accountability frameworks and monitoring progress to drive momentum across their initiatives.
6. Getting to grips with diversity data: Signatories have taken strides forward to expand the diversity data they collect. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of signatories are capturing additional diversity data about their female senior managers, up from 53% last year. Ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability are the most commonly collected datapoints.
7. Monitoring impacts of Covid-19: Signatories reported on how they are adapting as the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic recedes. Priorities are plans for returning to the office, different approaches to hybrid working, and how arrangements are being integrated into business as usual.
8. Accountable at the top table: Accountability is sitting at the highest levels of seniority, with almost all (98%) accountable executives being executive committee members. AEs are taking an increasingly strategic approach, and their role is expanding into new areas, such as sustainability.
9. Linking to pay: After a marked improvement in the quality and quantity of signatory reporting on the link between pay and targets in 2020, this year’s data indicates signatories’ increasing confidence in implementation. Just over half (53%) of signatories believe the link to pay has been effective, and the link is getting more granular, incorporating both personal and corporate goals for a wider group of employees.
10. Publishing updates: Only 59% of signatories published an online update on their progress by the required deadline, and the quality and format of reporting varied significantly. Publishing progress is the only Charter principle that has not consistently improved over the past five years.
For more information on the Annual Review or on New Financial’s diversity programme, please contact Yasmine Chinwala on firstname.lastname@example.org
This review analyses annual updates from 209 signatories that signed the Charter before September 2020, provided an annual update to HM Treasury in September 2021, and have at least 100 staff. Of these 209 signatories, 16 are reporting for the first time, 32 for the second, 76 for the third time, 33 for the fourth time, and 52 for the fifth time. All data has been anonymised and aggregated, and no data has been attributed without consent. The data was analysed by Sheenam Singhal and Jennifer Barrow under the supervision of Yasmine Chinwala and Panagiotis Asimakopolous. For full methodology, see p29 of the Appendix.
About New Financial:
New Financial is a think tank and forum that makes the positive case for bigger and better capital markets in Europe. We think there is a huge opportunity for the industry and its customers to embrace change and reform, and to rethink how capital markets work. Diversity is one of our core areas of coverage.
New Financial would like to thank all our institutional members for their support and particularly Aviva, Virgin Money, London Stock Exchange Group and City of London Corporation for funding our work on the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter.