The Financial Services sector in Ireland, as a significant employer group, can play a vital and dual role in improving the overall gender diversity balance nationally, according to Gillian Harford, Country Executive 30% Club Ireland.
Speaking at a virtual seminar organised by the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment Ireland, she commented
“With the enthusiastic support and impetus from all the financial services employers and stakeholders, including the Financial Regulator, the sector can continue to improve from within. In addition, specifically through the actions of fund managers and their engagement with the companies they invest in, it can influence other sectors to improve their overall diversity and inclusion policies.”
Clare Payn, Senior Global ESG and Diversity Manager with Legal & General Investment Management, who consistently engage with companies, proactively voting at AGMs, believed that the conversation must move on from simply board composition to greater gender balance at executive levels, where strategic decision making takes place.
Karina Robinson, Co-Director of The Inclusion Initiative at London School of Economics, said that increased innovation, which is one of the outputs from improved diversity, will be key as we emerge from the current economic downswing. Robinson also noted that diversity factors need to be addressed in the case of down-sizing and job losses also.