Some of Britain’s biggest financial services companies failed to meet their own targets for female representation in senior management, with Nomura International Plc one of the worst performers among major banks.
(Bloomberg) — Some of Britain’s biggest financial services companies failed to meet their own targets for female representation in senior management, with Nomura International Plc one of the worst performers among major banks.
Nomura International, the Japanese lender’s London-based investment bank, previously said it wanted 19% of women in senior management positions by 2022. After missing the target, it set a new objective of having 17% of women in these positions by 2026.
The details emerged in the UK Treasury’s sixth annual review of its Women in Finance Charters, signed by 235 companies. Nomura, one of the few Japanese banks to sign the charter, has the lowest objective for female representation in senior management ranks among those signing the charter. Women currently make up 15% of these roles at the firm.
A number of firms have scaled back their goals, a sign of how long it will take to achieve gender parity in the male-dominated City of London. Including Nomura, eight companies reduced their targets. Capital One Europe was another that lowered its goal. The firm, which didn’t respond immediately to a request for comment, previously had a range of 40-60% and introduced a specific target of 40%.
That figure is still more than double the one set by Nomura, who declined to comment.
But the company has made progress in other areas, such as achieving parity amongst graduates hires. Nomura is also one of the 12 signatories which conduct market mapping efforts to identify and source female talent for interview shortlists.
In total, 29 companies, including auditing giant KPMG and hedge fund firm Man Group Plc, failed to meet their 2022 targets for female representation in senior management, the latest report said. Most were five female senior manager appointments away from meeting their objective.
But the report shows a slight positive trend overall. The share of female leaders across the UK’s top financial firms grew by 2 percentage points to 35% in 2022, a sign of slow progress after two years of stagnation. A third of the charter’s 235 signatories met targets for female representation among top ranks by the deadlines they set for themselves.
Reasons cited for missing their ambitions include senior women leaving, low turnover in senior management or increases in the total number of managers due to acquisitions.
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While the proportion of women in top positions increased in a majority of signatories, female representation declined in about a quarter of companies. The recovery from Covid-19 and companies setting more ambitious targets helped drive positive change, the report said.
Representation goals vary widely across those who signed the charter, with a range from 17% to above 50%. Most targets exceed 35%.
The gap between the top performers, who have already reached 40% female representation, and the bottom quartile, where women make up fewer than 20% of senior management roles, has widened in the past five years. The best performing sectors are building societies and British banks, while investment banks and investment managers are laggards.
Over 100 signatories still have time to meet their goals for female representation and nearly all stated they’re on track to do so — but around 60% of these firms are increasing female representation at a slower pace than required to meet their deadlines, according to the review.
“For the first time ever, the percentage of women represented at the highest levels has increased by more than 1%,” said Amanda Blanc, chief executive officer at Aviva Plc and the government’s women in finance champion, said in the report. “What is concerning is the gap between the signatories leading the way and those who are not.”
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(Adds quote from Amanda Blanc, chief executive office at Aviva Plc.)
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