'Candidates have more control to select organisations and industries which align with their values'

Since starting my career in specialist finance, I have been drawn to work for companies such as Glenhawk that are inclusive and incredibly committed to diversity in the workplace.

In my current role in business development, many of my clients share their ambitions with me of having a more balanced team, where with the help of the Women in Finance Charter among others, it’s fantastic that the sector is now recognising that a diverse workforce is not just important for society, but also incredibly beneficial to businesses.

There are reams of success stories from organisations in other sectors centred around diversity and inclusion, mostly suggesting these environments are conducive to fresh ideas and enabling businesses to see things from a multitude of angles, subsequently aiding better business decisions to be made.

Given that the specialist finance sector has a higher proportion of men, I am fortunate that my role at Glenhawk sees an almost even split among the team in terms of men and women, as well as a mix of ages and ethnicities. I get to experience an inclusive culture every day, and that starts from the top with Glenhawk’s leadership. However, it is also felt with colleague interactions throughout the entire organisation, which has forged a powerful setting for creativity.

In addition to gender diversity, almost one-in-six people in the UK are from a minority ethnic background, nearly one-in-five working-age adults have a disability, and an increasing proportion of the population identifies as lesbian, gay or bisexual, therefore we should ask ourselves if our industry reflects this diversity and, if not, what opportunities we are missing out on.

The aftermath of Covid, which forced businesses to operate differently, could be the beginning of change and may present opportunities for firms that are looking to rebuild their teams. I have heard from brokerages that are entering a new phase of recruitment and wish to build a better mix of gender and age, including staff at graduate level, for example. Other firms have also used the pandemic to initiate policies to better support mental health in their workplace.

Post-Covid flexible working practices have also highlighted previously invisible barriers that may have excluded some from the standard 9-to-5 office-based workforce. Flexible working creates a new opportunity for businesses to consider a much wider talent pool, and I hope that benefits both women and men who are trying to fit parenting commitments around work, as well as individuals with disabilities or care commitments.

In recent years, I’ve also loved hearing how many industries are embracing corporate diversity and equality training, including increasing LGBT+ understanding within their workforce. As UK job vacancies reach new highs, perhaps candidates have more control to select organisations and industries which align with their values, which may initiate a shift in specialist finance, too, as companies seek to compete for new talent and diversify further.

The current backdrop provides so much potential for enhancing diversity and hopefully we will see firms leveraging the opportunity in the specialist finance sector. I for one am excited to see where these opportunities take us, not just at Glenhawk and in financial services, but also beyond this industry in the years to come.

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

Leave a comment