'It's not about companies filling their quota when employing women in the workplace'

I have been in finance for over 20 years, and therefore witnessed some key developments in gender balancing. It’s a conversation that’s been happening for over 40 years, and one that we can never stop having.

The Women in Finance Charter is a positive step, but we need to tread with caution as it’s not about companies ‘filling their quota’ when employing women in the workplace.Everyone wants to have a job because they are good at it, not because they are female. It’s not a tick-box exercise.

After leaving school at 16, I started work at the Chelsea Building Society, then made a move to Northern Rock as a BDM, before then moving to a national accounts role with TSB. Following my time at TSB, I then joined OSB Group where I have been promoted twice during my time with the company.

OSB Group is a proud signatory of the Women in Finance Charter created by HM Treasury. The charter reflects the government’s aspiration to see gender balance at all levels across financial services firms.

The group goes above and beyond to help all employees feel supported, regardless of gender. My own journey into motherhood was difficult, which is sadly the case for many women. However, my male boss was very supportive and at no point did I feel neglected or misunderstood. I know that’s not the same for all women, and this is an area that needs work. I’ve recently seen companies writing miscarriage leave into their policies — this is another great way to support women in the workplace. This also leads to discussions about compassion and support when dealing with childcare, which is a huge concern for parents. I, like many, work extremely hard to ensure my home and work life balance as well as it can, something that OSB Group fully supports and is a really flexible company to work for.

So, what should companies in finance be doing to attract talent? It’s more than just the work environment; businesses should be looking at what additional support can be given to employees, such as flexible and school hours working, and alternative employee benefits which focus on home-life associated support, such as childcare and things that will help a household.

OSB Group has a strong female leadership team which helps more women at work feel empowered. Strong guidance is key to everyone’s development and having a gender balance within the senior team of a business is vital to help shape and establish a balanced culture.

My advice for women looking to get into the sector is that knowledge and networking are key. Don’t be afraid to speak up, talk to other women and generally put yourself out there, especially when opportunities such as promotions arise.

Are you a woman in the financial services industry keen to get your voice heard? Contact [email protected] - we would love to chat!

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