Increased number of women at board level in UK banks ‘is a consequence of firms committing to diversity and inclusion’
Increased number of women at board level in UK banks ‘is a consequence of firms committing to diversity and inclusion’

UK banks have more women board members than European and US counterparts, study finds

‘Evidence suggests that a better gender balance on the board can lead to greater diversity of ideas’

Sabrina Barr@fabsab5
Monday 17 August 2020 06:00
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Banks in the UK have more women board members than their counterparts in Europe and the US, a study has found.

Consultancy firm New Street Group recently conducted a study looking at the number of board members at banks who are women.

The company investigated the gender balance of the board of directors of the world’s 50 largest banks and the 10 largest investment banks by assets.

According to the firm, around 37 per cent of board members at banks in the UK are women.

Europe trails slightly behind with 35 per cent of its banks’ board members being women, while in the US 33 per cent of bank board members are women, the results showed.

Andrew McIntee, managing director of New Street Group, stated that banks understand the “competitive advantage” of ensuring there is gender balance at a senior level.

“Banks know that gender balance isn’t just a public relations objective, it’s part of finding a competitive advantage,” he said.

“A growing body of evidence suggests that a better gender balance on the board can lead to greater diversity of ideas, better and more informed decision-making, and increased board effectiveness which ultimately leads to better performance.”

Mr McIntee said that in UK banks there is “now a real understanding that a shortlist of all male candidates for a senior role is one that may have ignored 50 per cent of the talent pool”.

The report stated that the increased number of women at board level in UK banks is a consequence of firms committing to diversity and inclusion when hiring new workers and within the workplace.

Furthermore, factors that may have hindered women from being promoted to senior roles, such as taking maternity leave, have been removed as a result of inclusion programmes, the report added.

According to New Street Group, its research has suggested that during the coronavirus pandemic the FTSE 350 companies with greater gender balance on their boards saw less of a negative impact to their share prices than firms with worse gender diversity.

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