MFS champions diversity with women making up 62% of its senior management

Market Financial Solutions (MFS) has revealed its diversity figures in a bid to bring more transparency to the specialist lending sector’s workforce and encourage action from other businesses.

The bridging lender, which has a total of 50 employees, has a split of 58% men and 42% women. 

Some 42% of its staff are from ethnic minority backgrounds — including founders, directors and senior managers — 61% of which are men and 39% women.

The finance provider’s senior management team is largely made up of women, with 62% holding roles at this level.

“Our female-dominated senior management team was not necessarily planned, as we always interview and appraise with an open mind and based on performance, but we have found that women have brought in an element of resistance and strength at senior levels to manage and handle business and staff in a more multidimensional way,” said Tiba Raja, executive director at MFS.

“The financial services sector has traditionally been a male-dominated environment which can be unwelcoming to women. 

“Not only can they often find it difficult to secure jobs, but career progression can also be harder. 

“Positively, this is changing across the industry, but there is still a great deal of work to be done.”

She stated that by having more women on board, the lender has seen increased staff retention and growth. 

“That is not to say that we could do it without our male team members however, it’s just about having different voices contributing to an issue — something that has been vital during Covid to keep the entire team resilient and open to change when faced with last minute disruptions.”

MFS believes having a healthy, diverse culture within the team that is respectful of people’s views, backgrounds and challenges that individuals face, helps with retention.

“We support staff when looking at flexible working through religious holidays, for example, which we celebrate as a team — like Ramadan, Diwali and Christmas,” she highlighted.

As a result of greater retention, work output has also improved, with even more time to develop new concepts and ideas to grow the business more efficiently. 

MFS believes that its emphasis on diversity — including a vast range of cultures and religions — also makes the business a better and more interesting place to work. 

“One of our fundamental goals as a business is to create a culture and workplace where all employees feel comfortable and supported.

“This is essential if they are to enjoy working at MFS, which in turn aids their mental wellbeing and the business’s employee retention and productivity; diversity plays a big part in this.” 

Tiba explained that representing different cultures and religions was a critical part of creating a healthy ethos. 

“Creativity is definitely where we see the most impact of our diversity, where the array of ideas leads to improvements and innovation in the business. 

“From a purely personal perspective, I believe the multi-cultural makeup of MFS also helps to make all employees more rounded, enlightened individuals. 

“From a business perspective, a diverse team is more productive and, overall, they simply perform better as there is a greater pool of talent and ambition within the organisation.”

Tiba added that having a diverse team from day one has naturally harboured more progressive tendencies when it comes to hiring. 

“When we are recruiting new team members, we are not purely looking at people’s technical skills. 

“Their backgrounds, personalities, values and outlooks are all extremely important; in weighing up those considerations, we tend to attract and hire a diverse group of employees from across a wide range of disciplines that vary in race, sex, religion and age.”

The lender also takes active and considered steps to only engage with recruitment partners that can demonstrate that they, equally, place importance on workplace diversity and opportunity.

“For businesses that look at the composition of their teams and see a clear lack of diversity, I would encourage swift action.”

She noted practical steps that businesses can take, such as building in a strategy from the start of the interview process and anonymising CVs so that decisions are not made based on someone’s sex or ethnicity.

Tiba also referenced being willing to consider alternative opinions or approaches to your own and setting goals around diversity and inclusion to reach over a set period.

“No one should feel like an outsider within their place of work, so going the extra mile to foster an inclusive culture is absolutely vital.”

Tiba also emphasised the need to keep communication open and have regular one-to-one’s and appraisals with your team.

“Review what your staff are telling you about their needs — take action, don’t become stagnant, and continue to develop your culture in line with them.

“I think it’s important to be culturally sensitive and understand why diversity will benefit the business as a whole when looking to change; if we all looked through the same window, then we would not see anything new.”

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