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FS embraces diversity to foster long-term success

17 October 2016


“Diversity in all its forms – from gender, generation, ethnicity, sexuality and disability to people with a broader range of skills, experiences and industry backgrounds – is a vital element of the changing focus within FS. “ pwc,  Making Diversity a Reality report

It’s clear that the Financial Services industry is now positively driving change for underrepresented groups within many FS organisations. We recently attended Lloyd’s of London’s ‘Dive In’ event which explored key findings on the diversity of talent from their recruitment and selection policy. This event highlighted the positive changes happening in the market and outlined a clear roadmap for change in FS; it’s evident that there is now a real commitment to embracing diversity and promoting equality of opportunity within the industry. One key learning in particular from this event was the value of sponsorship from execs in shaping employees’ opinions of and behaviours towards D&I. Clear business objectives set by senior leaders actually enables employees to feel that they are working towards a shared goal, therefore helping to foster an environment that is intrinsically inclusive. Leading from the top also helps to embed key behaviours throughout the business to support positive changes.

Earlier this year, the Lord Mayor of London opened the Economist’s inaugural diversity in business conference with the following, “success is driven by enterprise, hard work, and talent – from every possible source.” The FS industry is embracing this, by reflecting and celebrating diversity in the workplace, which is creating a much more inclusive culture that’s actually adding value to their businesses and ultimately, bottom line. Another key driver in the journey to inclusion is that businesses now have metrics in place to implement change to support diversity.

In fact, the Economist actually found that 33% of executives think diversity enhances productivity and innovation and 55% said it improves access to talent. An incredible 67% said a diverse workforce enhances financial performance and one in six said it directly improves the bottom line. This is clear quantifiable evidence that championing diversity improves collaboration, productivity and innovation and has the potential to drive impressive profits. As Lloyd’s quite rightly said, “Inclusive recruitment is not a nice to have, it’s an imperative to allow for future growth, creativity and relevance.” The FS industry is certainly taking note.

The journey from diversity to inclusion is still a long one and is the industry is by no means at the end of the road. So just what are the current issues with recruiting a diverse talent pool into the FS market? Some businesses are limiting their talent sourcing to traditional pools and haven’t yet got the capability and tools to support diverse recruitment. This will come with time; FS companies and agencies that implement the right learning insights can adapt role profiles that promote inclusive employment – to access the widest possible talent pools.

Here at Oliver James, we’ve recently launched ‘Project Embrace’, an internal programme that is centred on celebrating our individual uniqueness and differences alongside educating our clients on the advantages of an inclusive workplace. It’s key for us to create an environment that values a diverse perspective within both our workforce and recruitment policy. We understand the value of drawing upon the widest possible range of views and experiences in order to meet the changing needs of our employees, clients and candidates alike. With the right support and learning tools, we believe our consultants can better understand the benefits of diversity which is why unconscious bias training is now part of our onboarding programme and available to every employee. Additionally, regular diversity and inclusion workshops are carried out by internal and external trainers.

It’s clear that the FS market does understand the benefits diversity can bring and is taking positive steps to achieve and inclusive working environment. However, reaching the point where FS organisations truly value the differences individuals can bring is a journey; reaching the destination of fostering an inclusive environment where difference is embraced and people feel valued and respected will take time. But with the right tools, learning, support and insights the FS market will thrive. 

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