The annual Women in Finance report published this week shows the finance sector is making great strides in increasing female representation in finance in senior management roles.
This year’s Women in Finance Charter report shows average senior female representation across Charter signatories has increased to 35% in 2022
Almost three quarters of signatories have increased their proportion of women in senior management
Signatories’ ambitions for their targets continue to increase with half (50%) setting a target of at least 40%
HM Treasury launched the Women in Finance Charter in 2016 and has annually published an accompanying Annual Review monitoring signatory progress from the previous year, in collaboration with think tank New Financial. Signatories of the Charter must report annually to the Treasury on their progress against their self-created targets for women in senior management.
This year’s report shows a very positive picture overall. The main headlines from 2022 include:
The average female representation has increased to 35% in 2022. This shows an improved picture for Charter signatories as this number remained flat at 33% in 2021 and 2020.
77% of signatories have either increased (71%) or maintained (6%) their proportion of women in senior management.
Signatories’ ambitions for their targets continue to increase with half (50%) setting a target of at least 40%.
Of the 73 signatories with a 2022 deadline, 44 hit their targets and the remaining 29 missed, down from 31 in 2021. Of the 29 that missed, 22 were close – either within five percentage points or five appointments of hitting their targets.
For the first time since the Charter’s creation, the top quarter of firms (52) have achieved at least 40% female representation in senior management.
Releasing the report, Treasury Lords Minister Baroness Penn said:
There is much to celebrate this year. Signatories have demonstrated their commitment to delivering on this agenda: analysing data to drill into the issue at hand, setting ambitions high, and working to develop and inspire the leaders of tomorrow. It is most encouraging to see that after last year’s stall in progress, our 400+ strong signatory base has brought itself back on track.
This report should serve as a marker of strong progress but also a reminder that we shouldn’t be complacent. I want to ensure that the Charter continues to be a tool for keeping the sector competitive, innovative, and productive.
This journey is not linear, but together we can keep each other accountable, drive growth and boost innovation in the financial services sector.
Amanda Blanc, Group CEO at Aviva and Government Women in Finance Champion, said:
These results are encouraging – a 2% improvement is good progress but we have to move beyond that and soon if we are going to make lasting change. The signs are good, and what is hugely encouraging is to see leaders being held accountable for the levels of diversity in their business and that data is finally being allowed to flex its muscles on this issue.
A quarter of Charter firms now have 40% of women in senior management and they should be applauded for that. But all of us need to do more to ensure that we finally improve the pace of change to achieve wholesale and permanent acceptance of women in finance.
Yasmine Chinwala OBE, partner at New Financial and lead author of the report, said:
Signatories’ progress is clear evidence that the Charter’s principles work. They encourage business to tackle the challenge of increasing female representation just as it would treat any other strategic imperative – with a target, progress reporting and individual accountability, all incentivised by pay.
The data shows more signatories are finding the link between diversity targets and pay is making a difference, with 64% reporting that they believe the link to pay has been effective, up from 53% in 2021. Having a link to pay means diversity is increasingly positioned as a business issue, rather than voluntary or owned and led by HR and D&I teams, and has been transformative.