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HSBC Targets Gender Equality for Senior UK Roles

HSBC recently announced that the bank will aim to create gender parity for senior roles in the UK through a series of policies.

An attempt will be made to address gender inequality by setting targets. By the time the planned head office is opened in Birmingham in 2019, it is anticipated that gender equality will have been achieved in the most senior of the 500 plus roles.

The bank currently has 5500 senior management staff, although only 29% of them are women. It remains to be seen whether the banking giant will take steps to attempt parity across the broader demographic.

Women consist of 54% of the 37,000 strong workforce at HSBC, although they are underrepresented at management level. HSBC aims to counteract this by demanding an equal number of men and women on shortlists, name blind CV’s to avoid discrimination, and support structures in place for mothers.

The Lord Davies Review of diversity in senior management roles found that there was a severe lack of female professionals at the highest levels. In 2011, Lord Davies set a target for women to hold 25% of boardroom roles by 2015, and this target was achieved.

 In October, that goal was extended for at least a third of boardroom positions at the UK’s biggest companies to be held by women by the end of 2020.

Antonio Simoes, head of HSBC’s UK arm, said: “It’s completely unacceptable that in 2015, women are still significantly underrepresented at a senior management level across the financial services industry. We are committed to putting that right at HSBC UK.

“Our ambition is to become the bank of choice in the UK. We have the opportunity to build a different type of bank through the creation of HSBC UK, which is more responsive to customer needs and fully reflects the diversity of society. Our aspiration is to achieve gender parity at all levels of the bank and to create a true meritocracy where everyone has the opportunity to develop their career, regardless of their background, age, gender, sexual orientation, ability, ethnicity or beliefs,” said Simoes.

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, the chief executive of Virgin Money published a Treasury commissioned review for the financial sector. She advised companies to work toward attaining gender balance and to  give senior employees the responsibility of reaching targets.

HSBC is joined by the Royal Bank of Scotland, which the government owns three quarters of after the 2008 bail out. It has set a target of one third of the top 600 positions to be held by women by the end of the decade. 


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