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A recruiter's perspective on Diversity and Inclusion

Emily Hearne Treasury, Market Insight

Diversity and Inclusion has undergone a tremendous shift in recent years, moving away from being an internal programme to being seen as key driver of positive business performance.

This is supported by the fact that 78% of respondents to our 2019 treasury salary survey confirmed their company has a Diversity and Inclusion policy. The first step towards improving diversity for any organisation is talking about the subject and looking for ways to actively reduce bias when recruiting, developing and promoting. When it comes to recruitment, this can mean putting in place processes to reduce employees’ unconscious biases that influence processes, ensuring the hiring process itself clearly demonstrates how someone has been judged for competency and creating earlier training opportunities for hires from underrepresented groups.

Of course, quotas are a certain route to ensuring diversity – both in the recruitment process and in the positions themselves. 36% of those treasurers said their company has quotas in place for women in senior positions and 28% have quotas for ethnic minorities. It’s always welcome news to see companies taking proactive steps towards improving diversity in their organisations. Not only is it important on a human level, but the business case is overwhelming as the evidence demonstrates a clear link between diversity at both board and senior leadership level and profitability.

This is buoyed by the fact that diversity is a competitive advantage for organisations. Once again, there is a demonstrable and clear link between diversity and sustainable innovation, which is a key component of success in today’s knowledge-based economy. Yet for its advantages to be truly felt, diversity – and all its benefits – need to be fully understood by leadership teams and employees, therefore creating a culture that promotes active participation for everybody. Only when individuals from all backgrounds are fully included and empowered to have an impact on the direction of the company will the real benefits of diversity be felt.

It is therefore pleasing to see that 71% of treasurers surveyed feel their company is doing enough to promote women into senior positions. Yet whilst the percentage of women in senior leadership positions across Treasury has increased, it is a steady incline. This may be attributable to the historic talent pipeline and the pyramid structure of Treasury departments themselves, yet we are however confident in the strength of the emerging female talent pipeline to remedy this.

Attracting and retaining senior women in their leadership roles is an increasingly important concern for our clients. From quotas to flexible working, we are often asked to pinpoint the factors that will convince a candidate to accept an offer. The answer however, is far more complex and about more than a single policy or quota. The key is to create a culture within which every employee can thrive. A truly diverse culture recognises that everyone is an individual, and that they must have the opportunity to bring their best to work, enabling them to be comfortable being their true selves and working with others to create something better than they could do on their own.

If you would like to discuss future opportunities, feel free to get in touch with me.

To downdload a copy of our 2019 treasury salary guide and market report, click here.