Report: HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter: signatory survey 2023
November 2023 • Driving diversity • by Yasmine Chinwala, Jennifer Barrow and Sheenam Singhal
The fourth signatory survey highlights the impact the Charter is having on signatories, the benefits they are realising from joining the Charter, and the challenges they face in meeting their Charter commitments. Two-thirds of Charter signatories believe the Charter is driving permanent, sustainable change in their organisations and helping them maintain their focus on increasing female representation as they move into the next phase of their diversity efforts.
New Financial relies on support from the industry to fund its work. You can download the full report here
The UK Government launched the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter in March 2016. The Charter now has more than 400 signatories covering more than a million employees across the sector. In collaboration with HM Treasury, New Financial conducts a survey of Charter signatories approximately every two years.
The purpose of this fourth survey is to learn more about the impact the Charter is having on signatories, the benefits they are realising from joining the Charter, and the challenges they face in meeting their Charter commitments.
The survey data shows that seven years after its launch, the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter continues to have a positive impact. Of the 195 respondents to the 2023 signatory survey:
• Two-thirds (65%) reported that the Charter had driven permanent sustainable change in their organisations;
• Nearly 60% believe the Charter is changing the face of the financial services sector;
• Almost all (98%) said that increasing female representation was strategically important to their organisation;
• Maintaining focus on improving female representation was the most commonly cited benefit of being a signatory;
• 71% said they are applying the Charter principles to other diversity strands in addition to female representation.
New Financial is proud to be HM Treasury’s data partner on the Charter. Our Charter work is an enormous undertaking, and would not be possible without our sponsors Aviva, Santander UK, London Stock Exchange Group, City of London Corporation and the wider support of New Financial members.
Highlights of the Signatory Survey 2023:
1. Making an impact on organisations: Seven years after its launch, the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter continues to have a positive impact. Of the 195 respondents to the 2023 signatory survey, two-thirds (65%) reported that the Charter had driven permanent sustainable change in their organisations, and most of the remaining third expected to see change within the next five years.
2. Industry level change is slower: Nearly 60% of signatories believe the Charter is changing the face of the financial services sector, but another quarter expected it would take another five years, and 15% said another 10 years.
3. A business priority: Nearly all (98%) signatories said that increasing female representation was strategically important to their organisation, with 80% saying it was significantly so.
4. Reaping the benefits: Maintaining focus on improving female representation was the most commonly cited benefit of being a signatory, followed by promoting discussion of improving female representation at the highest levels.
5. The power of targets: Targets have been the most impactful of the four Charter principles, and now half of all Charter signatories have a target of at least 40% for women in senior management.
6. Link to pay is tricky but rewarding: Respondents to every signatory survey have rated the link to pay as by far the most challenging of the four Charter principles to implement. However, it appears to be less difficult than it used to be, and more signatories are finding the link to pay effective.
7. Using the Charter as a framework: Seventy-one percent of survey respondents said they are applying the Charter principles to other diversity strands in addition to female representation – usually by appointing an accountable executive. Ethnicity is the primary area to which signatories are extending the Charter actions.
8. Challenges remain: Respondents cited a shortage of diverse talent in recruitment pools, sustaining momentum as they approach their target, and an inadequate internal pipeline of women coming through the ranks as the main challenges they expect to face in meeting their Charter targets.
9. Expanding diversity priorities: Female representation and ethnicity were most commonly mentioned as diversity priorities for signatories surveyed, with mental health and socio-economic background in third and fourth place .
10. Levers for change: The top two reasons survey respondents gave as to why more women in senior management mattered were to improve decision-making and to attract and retain talent. They scored employees highest among the stakeholders motivating progress on diversity, followed by clients and society.
The report launched this morning at a virtual event with speakers including:
• Amanda Blanc, CEO of Aviva and the UK Government’s Women in Finance Champion
• Alanna Barber, Deputy Director, Banking and Credit, HM Treasury
• Dr Helen Russell, Head of Social Research Division, Economic and Social Research Institute, representing the Irish Charter
• Tom Theobald, Director for the development of the financial centre, Luxembourg Ministry of Finance, representing the Luxembourg Charter
To view the webinar, please click here.