By Phil Smith

CNN called 2018 the year of the woman. With movements like #MeToo and the BBC Pay Gap Campaign, women have been emboldened to speak up about the issues affecting them in the modern world.

This spotlight has corresponded with a greater significance being placed on gender diversity within the workplace. The end of last year saw the Women in Finance Charter hit 160 firms, all committed to having at least 30% of their senior roles filled by women by 2021. Those banks who are still to sign up to the charter have faced fierce criticism and questions, with Conservative MP, Nicky Morgan, writing “if they don’t intend to do so, the Treasury Committee wants them to explain why.”

LinkedIn recently found that 71% of all companies focus on diversity revolved around gender. Stating that gender was easier to track and hence the “lowest hanging fruit for companies”, whilst gender might be at the forefront of diversity we still have a long way to go.

A problem for many, candidates often see diversity efforts as simply box ticking, something which could be down to the way in which companies show they value diversity. With the majority of energy spent on ‘using diverse employees in web and print materials’, whilst presenting diverse interview panels falls to the wayside, it’s not surprising that promotional materials which feature all genders, races and abilities have become ripe for mockery. Instead, actions need to be clear and present behind the outward image.

Lloyds Bank have set themselves up as a leader in diversity issues over the past decade, not only making the Stonewall Inaugural Top Transgender Inclusive Employers List, but being named the Overall Top Employer by workingmums.co.uk. Lloyds philosophy is one all companies can abide by, stating, “it is our mission to better reflect the customers and communities which we serve” and fitting the ‘culture add’ attitude, rather than cultural fit, Lloyds ensure the last way they’d be described is homogenous.

Being unafraid of clear communication and of presenting our statistics is the first step to change. In 2017, despite 31.9% of the CV’s I sent being female, only 20% of placements were. It’s time we start questioning why, and just what we can do to change this.

Click here to view my Diversity & Inclusion report.

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