Senior figures from across the financial services sector will take part in a speed mentoring event at the London Stock Exchange today (12 December) to promote the next phase of the Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter.
This unique event will see over 40 senior leaders in financial services share their experience with 40 young women at the beginning of their careers in finance. They will offer advice on how to advance in a sector where men currently hold 77% of board level and 86% of executive committee positions.
The session is a speed dating format, with each mentee having a series of short focused conversations with mentors.
All the mentors come from the 93 financial services firms that have signed the Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter which commits firms to increasing gender diversity at senior levels.
Mentors include representatives from leading firms including MasterCard, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC UK, BP Energy Supply and Trading and Jupiter Asset Management.
In a review commissioned by the Treasury, Jayne-Anne Gadhia, the CEO of Virgin Money and the government’s Women in Finance Champion, found that 77% of women felt that mentoring schemes would make a difference to their career progression.
The event is being run by HM Treasury and Women Ahead, a social enterprise that develops women in business and sport, as part of the Treasury’s push to see more gender parity at the top of financial services firms.
Xavier Rolet, CEO of London Stock Exchange Group will open the event, followed by keynote speeches from Simon Kirby, Economic Secretary, and Jayne-Anne Gadhia, the government’s new Women in Finance Champion.
Also today, new analysis from New Financial, the official data partner for the Women in Finance Charter, reveals that among Charter signatories, banks have set the most ambitious targets relative to current levels – as a group they are aiming to increase women in senior roles by more than 40% over the next five years.
Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Chief Executive at Virgin Money and the government’s Women in Finance Champion, said:
It is important that the next generation of women working in finance have the opportunity to break the glass ceiling and get to the top.
Achieving a balanced workforce at all levels in financial services will undoubtedly improve culture, profitability and productivity and I am delighted to see so many positive role models here today to mentor and encourage women just starting out with their careers.
Simon Kirby, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said:
It is fantastic that so many senior leaders in financial services have given up their time to take part in our speed mentoring event.
Today proves these firms are not just paying lip service to the Women in Finance Charter but are living its values and actively working to help the next generation to climb the ranks.
It is really important to keep the momentum going on this agenda and recognise the strong link between greater gender diversity and improved productivity and performance in our financial services sector.
Xavier Rolet, CEO, London Stock Exchange Group, who will open the event said:
London Stock Exchange Group is delighted to be hosting today’s ‘speed mentoring’ session for women at the start of their careers in finance.
A diverse global workforce is pivotal to the success of our business, and as a signatory to the Women in Finance Charter, we are firmly committed to nurturing female talent within all levels of our organisation.
Maggie Alphonsi MBE, England Rugby World Cup winner and Women Ahead mentoring leader will manage the speed mentoring session. She has seen first-hand how mentoring can help your career skyrocket.
Maggie Alphonsi MBE, England Rugby World Cup winner and Women Ahead mentoring leader, said:
My mentors helped me believe in myself, and with that inner strength, I found I reached higher and achieved more in my career than I could have managed alone.
Today we’re seeing women at the start of their careers being given an extraordinary opportunity to meet senior leaders who could guide them right up to company board positions.
Mentoring, when done well, gives you not only great connections and careers advice, but helps unleash the potential everyone has. We can’t wait to see how this group of women travels up the career chain.