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Eva Keogan

Is the narrative, or lack of it, in the media around high profile professional women causing us harm?

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Andy Milner

Interesting comparison @Eva Keogan - I try not to pay too much attention to the Daily Mail (although I appreciate it is wildly popular) due to both it's extreme (and negative) editorial stances and it's low standards of journalism.

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  • Related Content

    • Eva Keogan
      By Eva Keogan
      Nominations revealed for the 2019 Women in Investment Awards
      WWW.INVESTMENTWEEK.CO.UK Over 1,300 nominations received Great to see a long list of nominees here!
    • Rob Carter
      By Rob Carter
      Brexit, MiFID II, GDPR, Gender Pay Gap and Diversity are the themes we consider top of mind currently which is why we’ve created the Summer 2018 AlgoMe Industry Pulse Report.
      We wanted to get under the skin of some of these key events and burning issues for 2018. In doing so, we revealed some very interesting results and statistics.
      Given a choice of 7 cities, Dublin, Paris and Amsterdam are the top three choices for Asset Managers, Fintech and Financial Services employees to relocate to following Brexit. While 54% would not consider moving as a result of Brexit.
      When it comes to regulation; we are not surprised to find MiFID II and GDPR will affect over 60% of the roles in the industry.
      Positively, 59% believe Gender Pay Gap Reporting will improve the career progression of women.
      Please read the report for the full information and do get in touch if you would like to know more about your industry workforce.
      Rob Carter, CEO, AlgoMe
    • Luuk Jacobs
      By Luuk Jacobs
      The latest Gender Pay Gap figures are not showing a nice picture with minimal shrinking of the overall figure from 9.7% to 9.6%. More than a quarter of companies pay women over 20% less than men based on median hourly pay. Just 1.5% pay male employees 20% less than their female staff.
      Only a few companies have made progress and the majority continue to struggle or report even worse data. Especially the Asset Management industry shows a bleak picture.
      This data however I believe paints a very black and white picture. We need further analysis and understanding of the underlying trends to be able to design GPG plans. We also need to learn from those companies which have managed to improve the gap and find out what the secret of their success if.
      For example, analysis of April 2018 by the Office National Statistics (ONS, below graph base Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings) shows that the GPG for full-time employees between the ages of 18 and 39 years was close to zero, but began to widen for people over the age of 40; would this possibly be due to the fact that women take maternity leave in their thirties and feel the impact of this when returning? We are not sure.

      This is where the true challenge lies.  Current legislation does not oblige an explanation for the change in GPG or even a summary of how the GPG will be reduced. Neither is there a penalty for certain GPG levels or when the gap is worsening instead of improving. The hope was and is that this reporting will create certain self-regulation but now we are in this second year of reporting and it seems to be just a box-ticking exercise.
      Nevertheless, various reasons for the existence of the pay gap are well understood, with some directly related with work
      Many jobs traditionally done by women are lower paid A lack of genuine flexibility for employees at work   Too few good quality part-time jobs  
      There are many other reasons which are not direct related to work and are more about caring responsibilities, with women still undertaking the majority of child or elderly care, reducing the participation of women in the workplace (either permanent or for a certain time). Some argue this to be a choice, however the Equalities and Human Rights Commission found that one in nine pregnant women had been let go from their jobs or treated so poorly they felt they had to leave. Equally lower participation of women (in general or in specific industries) itself is no reason for a GPG; the GPG would be zero if this lower participation would still result in an equivalent percentage of women then men in all positions and with equal pay for seniority.
      Equally there is an increasing number of women who are self-employed (for reasons possibly related to the GPG or the reasons of its existence) and although not part of the GPG reporting statistics, also face the pay gap in this area.
      More specific reasons for the GPG are the fact that the top jobs in most companies are still held by men (less than 30% of Board members are female and only 5% of the FTSE100 has a female CEO). Not only have these positions in general the highest pay but remuneration of these positions is accompanied by significant incentives and bonuses.
      For Asset Management this is even further exuberated by Fund Managers having sometimes equal or higher pay than board members, whereas the number of women in these positions are few.
      On the positive side in some cases a widening GPG might mean progress, as women are hired or promoted in entry level more senior jobs; this will initially widen the GPG before they move up the ranks and start reducing the GPG. Unfortunately, the GPG reporting does not show this.
      So, what is the solution to reduce the GPG and ensure women will more equally participate in all level jobs and receive equal pay?
      The direct improvements that can be made are well known
      Reducing unconscious bias in recruitment Improve retention Offering more flexible working opportunities Encouraging shared parental leave Increasing support for women returning to work  
      Iceland even goes as far as implementing a rating of job positions on among others, “physical strain” and “responsibility”. If two employees doing a job with the same score and are not being paid the same, the company has to fix it.
      I believe however that we should be looking beyond this and start influencing for example the role of men and women in family life, household and society; as long as women continue to take the caring responsibilities, their participation and likely career progression will for some time stall (as for any longer leave taken by men or women). In the current environment of technological change and innovation certain skillsets become fast redundant or less important and “catching up” will even be more challenging.
      If we accept the choice of women (and their spouses!) to (temporarily) take the responsibility for caring roles we should equally encourage:
      To stay connected with the work environment, while fulfilling these caring roles, by ongoing training and part-time participation ie make it an integral part of parental leave; To oblige companies to provide training during (parental/caring) leave ensuring that upon return the skillset remains suitable for the position in which the woman returns (and leave can’t be an excuse for career stalling or even worse redundancy); To make parental leave by definition shared, yes controversial but by ruling that parental leave is only so long as it is taken by each parent equally, would change the dynamic (and choice).  
      An alternative route could be to make GPG part of the ESG score of a company. As long as the weighting would be significant, this would definitely be focussing the minds of the Board and Executives, as their investment attractiveness would worsen with the height of the GPG. Even better it would open the dialogue and the need for creating GPG plans (if it is not written down it does not exist). ESG has taken a long time to get the right attention but equally has brought the focus that was needed to make improvements. Something that GPG would fare well by. LGIM has taken a brave step in voting at AGM’s against Board appointments for failing to boost the number of women in their boardrooms.
      I strongly believe we need to move away from just looking at the numbers if we want to create lasting change and just creating new policy is not doing it. We must challenge the traditional role of men and women in society, not just with regards to caring roles but also for example education. Just beating the drum will not move the dial but longer lasting (forced) dialogue through routes such as ESG, could push the boundaries.
      We need to look beyond the parameters of the report and move outside of the box as a matter of urgency otherwise we will still talk about the gaps in ten or fifteen years and just say ‘nothing has changed much’.
    • Eva Keogan
      By Eva Keogan
      This year’s Gender Pay Gap reports are now largely in the public domain. Financial Services and Investment Management is showing a very wide gap, if not wider than before. Much of the impact of this is being lost in the chaos of Brexit right now. Let’s hope 2020 see us in better shape, but first let’s look at what is driving the debate.
      There are a lot of column inches and clever graphics dedicated to the Gender Pay Gap in the media and the comment section on the myriad articles is lively to say the least. The majority of men seem to say equal pay is law and the Gender Pay Gap reporting is misleading. According to the male contingent, it’s complicated, messy, requires counter intuitive thinking and reasoning, does not on the surface appear logical, so it’s not fit for purpose. 
      I disagree.
      Gender Pay Gap reporting has been designed to eke out gender imbalance in the workplace by highlighting the way women take on roles which pay less. This is quite worrying, especially since women reach the same level of education.
      Equal Pay in law is still not working. There are also many instances of ‘equal pay’ not being honoured – you have only to look at the recent BBC scandal to see it writ large.
      And this is what we’re up against as women in the workforce – legislation is now in place but it’s not being accepted or acted upon.
      Interestingly, I think this paragraph from Grazia, a fashion and lifestyle magazine, sums it all up rather well from the female perspective.

      What does the future hold for the new generation?
      If there is no flexibility or new room made to accommodate gender and diversity, where are we headed? Here are some of my thoughts on what’s to come
      Change is going to happen: The ‘glass ceiling’ is still very much in existence but the workplace is destined to change. The Women in Finance Charter is creating progress. New regulation and law will ensure progress (unless it is revoked, which in the UK is extremely unlikely). One hindrance maybe the withdrawal of the UK from the EU which sets us apart from the rulebook we currently abide by. Whatever happens, change is the norm but it’s not going to be quick.
      Jobs for the girls: While we are seeing more working women and mothers, I think we will continue to see a reduction in women who want primarily to be home makers and steer away from careers. Changes to the education agenda and generations of women who have had successful careers will normalise careers and family. 2018 ONS figures show a marked change in data which support this.
      The employment rate for mothers was 74.0% in April to June 2018, which has increased from 68.9% in 2013 and from 61.9% in 1996 (when comparable records began). Since 2010, the employment rate for women with children has remained higher than for women without dependent children, whilst the employment rate for fathers has consistently been higher than for men without dependent children. 5 in 10 (50.5%) mothers work 30 or more hours in their usual working week (excluding overtime) compared with almost 7 in 10 (69.7%)women without dependent children. In April to June 2018, almost three-quarters (72.5%) of families with couple parents had both parents in employment; of these families, almost half (45.5%) had both parents in full-time employment.  
      Women will champion themselves: There are networking groups and awards specifically set up for women in the City. However, at various milestones, women have extremely different needs in the workplace. Gender specific issues such as breastfeeding, menopause and other previously taboo subjects are on the agenda for the workplace now and the conversation needs to continue so there is a supportive environment. This will probably embody itself in female only forums and discrete problem solving groups rather than large campaigns.
      Disruption is on its way: Like it or not, with a growing workforce of highly educated women the status quo will be challenged, and it will be down to two developments. First, new technologies such as AI which are set to replace menial roles – which women are filling more than men - will lead to retraining and up-skilling. These will likely be new roles which are client facing or project managing technology.
      Second, as companies such as Tesco, Oracle and Google are facing class action from women due to pay and discrimination, it is highly likely to follow in the Investment Management industry, possibly on a global rather than local level. This will no doubt go back decades rather than years and will not be pleasant either. 
      Fragmentation in the market: As women become more of a power in the workforce, it’s quite likely they will want to work on their own terms. This will more likely mean they will not want to work in prevalently male environments which do not accommodate them, their growing families and pressures on work life balance. Technology has changed the need to be present in the office and virtual teams are acceptable. Network marketing and franchises are quite popular for women with families who work outside the industry – this proven model would be interesting to apply to Investment Management, so expect to see micro businesses which will be small teams and even the resurgence of the family firm.
      While the 2019 Gender Pay Gap is not showing much progress today, it is early days. Equal pay and bonuses will continue to dominate the Investment Management career agenda and the broader world of work. I think we will see activist shareholders push for fair and equal conditions for all, including all other groups in the diversity spectrum as well, but that’s another story.
    • Jonathan Max
      By Jonathan Max
      How To Balance For Better On International Women's Day
      WWW.FORBES.COM The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter, because parity benefits us all. Here are some countries who are bettering the balance across sectors—from government to boardrooms to...  
      Would be great to hear from our Community about what their companies are doing #BalanceforBetter
      Happy International Women's; making progress but still some way to go.....
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