The number of companies looking to hire women for senior leadership roles has significantly increased, according to Financial Recruitment Group managing director Judith Beck. “Over the last couple of years companies have been putting a much greater emphasis on having the right balance,” Beck told financialobserver. “Diversity is much higher on the agenda for employers these days and that’s not just in terms of male-dominated teams looking to hire more females, but also teams comprising a higher number of women wanting to see a greater representation of both males and females. She said some organisations were placing a greater focus on the subject of gender balance than others. “We’ve definitely seen a rise in women being employed at the general manager level and while it may take some time to see that matched within the senior executive teams, there is definitely more potential now as those women move up the ladder,” she said.
Separate to her role at Financial Recruitment Group, Beck is the founder of Financial Executive Women (FEW), an association that aims to help successful women realise their full potential through external advice and guidance. “We launched FEW in March 2013 and to date have around 130 members,” she said. “We’ve paired up nearly every member in a mentoring partnership, with each duo comprising an advocate who is a more senior person within the industry.” The feedback on those mentoring partnerships had been 100 per cent positive to date, she said.
“The next initiative we’re going to launch through FEW is a series called “On Top of the Ladder”,” she said. “The webinar series will give women at the chief executive level a platform to discuss how they’ve gotten to where they are today. “They will touch on topical issues such as stakeholder management, leadership identity, how to navigate internal politics and achieve a successful work/life balance. “A lot of women in the industry don’t get to hear from senior female executives, so we see this as a really good way to make these women and their personal stories more accessible.”
She said the feedback from male executives in the industry was equally important to FEW and to those women wanting to move into more senior financial services positions, which was why the association also incorporated a male panel session into each of its annual conferences.