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At Barclays we have an aim of being a talent magnet for financial services, so that women – and indeed everyone who is interested – view banking as a positive career.
If you went to a school today and asked a group of eight or twelve year olds, “Do you want to be a banker?” I don’t know how many people would put their hands up and say, “Yeah that sounds good”. We want to change this. There are a lot of initiatives Barclays runs that teach technology or financial literacy, which is great for future customers and society, but also helps promote banking as a profession. It’s important that we encourage the next generation to join our industry, in a way that says to young women and young men; you can build fulfilling careers with us, and have fun along the way.
Of course we want talent of all career stages to see us as an employer of choice, from apprentices to board executives. There are some other organisations that are taking very traditional paths towards diversity and inclusion, but we like to be innovative in our approach. I’ve been doing this for 15 years and I’ve seen a lot of good work out there, but I’m not aware of anyone that’s doing what we’re doing across the portfolio.
Indicators are that we’re on the right path; because we do lead when it comes to ensuring women are taking their rightful place in at every level. We’ve got great women on our board, our executive committee, leading business units, and as Country Managers to name a few. Maybe we’re not at the front of the pack – other industries are perceived as less male-dominant that ours – but we are certainly in the leading edge and improving each day.
Progress in the financial industry isn’t always visible, as that ‘male dominated’ perception is very prevalent. But I’m confident in saying that we are making progress. There are some parts of business and some regions that remain a challenge but we are doing well and seeing sustained growth across the organisation, in the UK and around the globe. With 51% of our workforce being female, we’re certainly ahead of some industries, and fast catching others up.
There’s still a lot to be done, but we’re making a great strides and I think we’ve got more to celebrate than people necessarily realise.
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