Wednesday evening saw CRS play host to our 6th Women in Finance networking event held at the Chiswell Street Dining Rooms in London. We were pleased to see our biggest turn out yet, attracting over 80 attendees from a wide variety of financial service sectors.
Whilst the evening provided plenty of opportunities for networking on an informal basis the highlight of the event was our panel discussion. Speaking were Laura Murray (Area Director, HSBC), Lesley Cozens (UK Head of Operations at Handelsbanken), Katie Nelson (Consultant at CRS and our resident Diversity expert), Maria Alavi (Head of Commercial at Clydesdale Bank) and Phi Paziana (Business Development Director). The discussion focussed on issues facing all of us in our working lives including topics such as flexible hours, quotas, the ‘glass umbrella’ effect, the lack of senior female role models and many others.
The questions posed to the panel posed a lively debate with contributions from the audience throwing up a number interesting points. As experienced recruiters who believe in adding value to our clients we are often asked for our opinion on areas affecting the banking industry and this topic of diversity is high on everyone’s agenda. Katie Nelson, who has a Masters degree in this subject and who works closely with many of our clients at board level, regularly contributes to their own diversity forums and it was great to hear more from women in the industry to find out first-hand what they are seeing & experiencing on a day to day basis.
One of the key topics which emerged was around the ‘50% theory’. Studies have shown that men will apply for a role if they meet 50% of the criteria whereas for women they felt they needed to meet 100% of the criteria to consider applying. The main theme emerging from the audience was that of confidence, often women felt their application would not be taken seriously if they lacked the full complement of skills whereas men tended to have a more gung-ho ‘so what’ approach. Pleasingly it appeared that this mentality is slowly shifting perhaps with the advent of more entrepreneurial businesses emerging such as FinTechs & peer to peer lenders, greater education opportunities and a perception amongst the younger generation of women in the work place that they are entitled to progress based on their abilities without the preconception that their opportunities will be limited by their sex. Changes to the way we work as a workforce (more emphasis on flexibility, work –life balance & remote working enabled by advances in technology) also mean that it has become easier to blend family and work and increasingly family is seen as a joint responsibility. Whilst the question of diversity remains an important one today, we would hope that we are seeing signs of that question being answered.
After hearing from our panel and audience the conversation carried on around the room and many of the subjects raised will provoke further debate going forward. It was a really enjoyable evening and we hope those that came along found it as inspiring as we did.
We will be holding more events in 2017 in Manchester, Birmingham and London so watch this space for announcements on details of our next dates. We always welcome feedback so if you have any ideas that you would like to see included or suggestions for future events please get in touch. Similarly if you would like to find out more about the work we do in diversity or would like a copy of our annual diversity perception survey do let us know.
For further information please contact Maria Rooney on 0161 495 3640 or email email@example.com