Page 1

Focus Report

bitcdiversity.org.uk/top502012

TOP 50 Employers for Women

Sound investment

3 Fire power

8-9

Vanishing act

12-13

Thursday April 19 2012


2

1GX

THE TIMES Thursday April 19 2012

Top 50 Employers

Top 50 Employers

A profitable investment

Why we must all follow the equality pathfinders The gender gap is improving but so much still has to be done, says Sarah Ebner

T

ake a look around your office and you may see a diverse workforce, a mixture of men and women who are of different nationalities. You may think that this reflects the times we live in; a 21st century where everyone is equal. But would that reflection be true if you looked higher up the ladder? If you think about those who run your organisation, the top dogs who make the decisions, that diversity may have disappeared. This is why The Times Top 50 Employers for Women awards are still so important. Yes, times may FOCUS REPORT Acting Editor: Tony Dawe 020 7782 5520 Cover image: Corbis

have changed, but not enough. We need the example of these impressive organisations to show us how we can all do more and in particular how we can maximise the potential of our entire workforce. “Gender equality is a mainstream issue now and I see that as a positive, but we should not kid ourselves that everything is fine,” says Alison Platt, who is divisional managing director, Europe and North America, for Bupa, the healthcare company. “Some of the statistics are desperately depressing. There is a huge amount more to be done.” Platt is chairman of Opportunity Now, which has been championing the business benefits of diversity for more than 20 years. She is convinced that there is an extremely strong business case for companies to focus on equality and diversity, and to allow all individuals to achieve. She is particularly concerned by the gender pay gap, which she terms a disgrace. The gap — 21.1 per cent between men and women in the UK and 17.4 per cent across the EU — is due largely to more men working in senior roles, an overall imbalance in pay, different promotion or bonus levels in equivalent roles, and greater part-time working for women. Half the women who work part-time do so at a level below their capabilities. “I worry that the economic crisis

and recovery is going to be used as an excuse not to tackle pay gaps: that’s immoral,” Platt says. She is keen to emphasise that it is not just women who benefit from diversity in business: “This is a whole organisation issue. Diversity is good for risk management, creativity and growth. There are definite benefits for shareholders.” Research carried out by Opportunity Now suggests that inclusive leaders enhance loyalty, increase motivation and boost productivity and performance. A study by McKinsey, the consultancy firm, shows that gender-diverse companies exceeded the operating results from companies with no women on their senior management teams by 56 per cent. Many women seem to disappear as they move upwards in an organisation. This may be because they do not want to be in senior management, or because they start families and are not offered suitable opportunities to return. Platt wants this to change. “You need to make it attractive enough to get the women back,” she says. “There is so much money invested in human capital and that is lost when they leave. When talent votes with its feet, the whole industry loses out.” Some companies shy away from flexible working or trying to retain female staff. The Times Top 50

It may cost more to hire women but they will pay dividends, writes

Carly Chynoweth

M Alison Platt: “When talent votes with its feet, the whole industry loses out”

Employers for Women and Opportunity Now focus on organisations which are open to these and other initiatives. Through them, it is hoped to encourage other companies to do the same. In this supplement we hear how some organisations have set targets for more women to join, while others have increased the number of women on their boards, run inclusive leadership schemes or introduced projects

whereby senior women act as ambassadors and mentors for others. Platt hopes that more innovation is on its way. “If we are going to dig our way out of the recessionary mess, this cannot be about going back to how it used to be. We need to come out of this as an economy which is more competitive, more creative and more inclusive. That means enabling everyone to make a contribution; to be as productive and creative as possible.”

aking an extra effort to hire and hang on to female employees costs companies money; high-quality development programmes, maternity coaching and mentoring schemes do not run on promises and fairy dust, after all. But finding the time and resources to do this makes clear business sense in a world where companies stand or fall on the talent of the people that they employ. The cost of offering flexible working, generous maternity leave and other benefits to encourage women to stay on is easily covered by the savings made by not having to recruit and train new staff who leave, says Christine Hodgson, executive chairman of Capgemini UK, the consultancy firm. “Hopefully it means that we have less turnover of staff and lower knock-on recruitment costs. If someone comes back from maternity leave, for example, we save the recruitment fee and all that knowledge that she has built up stays with us.” Justine Delroy, a tax partner at Addleshaw Goddard, made a similar case when seeking funding for the gender working group that she leads at the commercial law firm. “We have had to make a business case for what we have wanted to introduce as a working group,” she says. “It was not a matter of box-ticking; it was the same process that anyone in the business has to go through if they want to say: ‘This is worth investing time and money in.’

IKON IMAGES / CORBIS

“Law firms spend an enormous amount of money recruiting and training people. Just over half of those we take on are women. Historically, we lose some of them as they progress from junior to senior associate and more as they move to partner. That is a loss of return on investment.” Delroy acknowledges that the way firms are structured means that not all trainees will make it to partner level, so it is inevitable that some people will be lost along the way. “But there is a massive difference between losing people because of performance or because they are not cut out for law, for example, and losing people because it is too difficult for them to make partner as a woman.” From next month, 21 per cent of partners at Addleshaw Goddard will be women. For many companies, the first hurdle to overcome is the recruitment of women. Morgan Stanley, the investment bank, is eager to snap up talented graduates; as about 58 per cent of them are women, it needs to find a way to interest them in investment banking.

The recruitment of women is the first hurdle to overcome for many companies

There is a war out there to get that female talent This can be challenging, says Annabel Smith, head of diversity for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at the bank, which runs a scheme to demystify the sector for girls doing their A levels. “We proactively reach out to women to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions that they may have about our business,” she says. “We are not alone in doing that. There is a war out there to get that female talent.” In recent years, both Capgemini

and Addleshaw have seen an increase in the number of potential clients interested in their commitment to diversity. “Customers ask about it as part of the procurement process,” Hodgson says. “We are asked a raft of questions and diversity is one of them. That is not just gender, it is culture and age as well.” Potential clients want to know because they are keen to get a sense of Capgemini’s culture. “They also

want to know how we are going to fit with their organisation and serve their customers.” At Addleshaw Goddard, many of its corporate clients’ legal teams employ a lot of women, often women who left law firms after discovering that in-house roles were more conducive to family life, Delroy says. “So it is not acceptable, nor does it feel right, to present a very male team to serve that client.” Smith believes that diverse teams

are more creative, more productive and better at problem-solving — but only if they are inclusive. “Just having diverse people in the team won’t lead to creativity,” she says. “What will do is having an environment where people can give their best; where their views, their opinions and their talents are all respected. That is where people can make their maximum contribution and come up with their best ideas.”

Yes Minister, women are making strides The Civil Service is no longer that proud bastion of male dominance, says Sarah Butler

W

hat on earth would Sir Humphrey have made of it? The traditional image of the Civil Service as an unyielding upholder of male superiority, depicted so comically in the TV series Yes Minister (“We always employ the best man for the job, regardless of sex”) has just been shot down. Two government departments, the Home Office and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), are listed in this year’s Top 50 Employers for Women, and both have women in the top jobs. Lin Homer, who took over as chief executive of HMRC in January, and Dame Helen Ghosh, permanent secretary at the Home Office, exemplify a new breed of female civil servant.

Dame Helen was the service’s only female permanent secretary when she was appointed head of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2005. Now five of the Government’s 16 permanent secretaries are female. Homer leads HMRC, a non-ministerial government department, while Jil Matheson is the national statistician with responsibility for the Office for National Statistics and the UK Statistics Authority. Theresa May, the Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equality, says: “We are leading by example, by helping women achieve their potential to give us a better and more balanced workforce. Women have a valuable role to play in every business and the Government wants to remove any barriers to their success.” More than half (58 per cent) of staff at HMRC are women. Eileen Finnigan, from the sustainability and diversity team at HMRC, believes that having a female chief executive has been helpful: “It definitely shows what is possible.” The Civil Service is able to attract women because of flexible

Mould-breaker: Dame Helen Ghosh

working practices that can help them to fit their career around family life. Options include early or late starting times, part-time and compressed working weeks, and job share schemes. Dame Janet Gaymer, an employment lawyer and a former commissioner for public appointments, says

the acceptance of flexible working is much more advanced in the public sector than in private companies. The real challenge is in encouraging and training women so that they move up through the ranks. At present, 36 per cent of HMRC’s senior civil servants are women, about the same as the Civil Service generally but a much lower proportion than those working in revenue and customs overall. At the Home Office, women make up 32 per cent of senior civil servants. The department says it is “on track” to reach the overall Civil Service targets on female employment by 2013 but the proportion of women working there fell back in the year to March 2011, compared with the year before. The service as a whole failed to meet its target to put women in 37 per cent of senior roles and 30 per cent of top management posts by April 2008. The 2013 target is for 39 per cent of senior civil servants to be women and 34 per cent to fill top management posts. The Home Office closely analyses recruitment, bonuses, performance and even sickness by gender. Its

voluntary gender equality reporting scheme sets a model that it wants private companies to adopt under its Think, Act, Report initiative. One tactic used by both the Home Office and HMRC is a senior women’s network. At HMRC, 600 women act as role models. They help and encourage junior staff to plan their own development through events and workshops on topics such as CV writing or leadership skills. “It is about confidence,” Finnigan says. “Women have more of a tendency to look at a job ad and think they need to be able to tick off every aspect before applying.” The senior women’s network has encouraged women to consider traditionally male-dominated areas of the service, such as investigative roles. “They have done a lot of work to demystify that role and help women to understand that it is not just long hours with no flexibility,” Finnigan says. There are women’s networks in other government departments and diversity managers are currently looking at linking them to improve mentoring programmes.


Top 50 Employers

Role models raise the bar

Companies with good inclusion track records are pushing on, says

Rachel Potter

T

he shocking lack of gender diversity in UK boardrooms was highlighted just over a year ago, when Lord Davies of Abersoch published his independent review into women on boards. Even those who suspected that there was still a long way to go to reach equality may have been surprised to learn that almost half of the FTSE 250 companies had no female board members. The Davies review rocketed the issue of women in senior management back up the corporate agenda. It suggested that businesses should set short-term targets to ensure that greater numbers of talented women could reach the top jobs, with leading firms urged to aim for at least 25 per cent female board member representation by 2015. For many, the chances of reaching this target remain slim. Getting women into senior leadership positions remains a key challenge for all firms, including those in the The Times Top 50 awards. However, some businesses with a track record as good employers for women are opting to set the bar higher. Eversheds, the international law firm, wants women to make up 25 per cent of partners and 30 per cent of board members by 2016. Last year, it commissioned an external study looking at gender diversity. Among the actions now being taken is providing staff with more information on the women who already hold senior positions. Claudia Clark, head of reward and performance, says that publicising role models can help other women to feel that the top jobs are attainable. Eversheds also has plans to expand its mentorship programme to help

STEPHEN YANG/BLOOMBERG/GETTY IMAGES

women to develop the skills and competencies essential to success, such as self-confidence and assertiveness. Clark says: “The study revealed that a number of our senior women had not put themselves forward for promotion as early as they might have. They were more reluctant than men tend to be.” In the professional services sector, Deloitte has recognised that women are more likely to navigate their way on to a board if they are familiar with how it works. Women currently make up 23 per cent of Deloitte’s UK board and the target is 25 per cent by the end of this year. Deloitte also runs a programme for women from other companies that is designed to familiarise them with the world of the boardroom. Carol Arrowsmith, a vice-chairman and senior partner at Deloitte, says: “There is a wealth of research which demonstrates that companies with women in senior positions perform better. Our programme encourages women who are able to succeed at this level to have the confidence to take on a boardroom role.” Alan Belfield is diversity champion at Arup, the engineering consultancy. He says that behavioural change needs board-level commitment as a priority. Arup has invested in an inclu-

Mission: possible

The programme has given our leaders an insight into their bias

Morrissey’s target is 30 per cent female representation on boards by 2015

sive leadership programme designed to develop senior staff, both male and female, as effective role models ready to challenge the status quo. “This has given our leaders insight into their own bias, along with an appreciation of their responsibility to create an inclusive culture. It is already having a really positive impact throughout our organisation,” Belfield says. In the banking sector, Sheena Wilson, global head of talent strategy at BNY Mellon, agrees that support

from the top is essential. “We are fortunate that our board and senior executive teams are driving this agenda and measuring progress. For us it is about the business case: how does gender diversity support our business strategy? We are a global company operating in a competitive landscape so we need the best people.” Every BNY Mellon employee has a diversity and inclusion goal in their annual performance plan, Wilson says. “My view is that it is part of every executive’s role to ensure that

no woman ever feels that becoming a senior executive is out of reach because of her gender.” Shell also deserves a mention for its efforts to recruit women into senior roles, and has a global target of 20 per cent. In the UK, 16 per cent of these roles are already held by women. Rapid progress has been made since a 2005 study into retention and career progression of women in Shell’s UK business. Since then, the number of women in senior roles has increased by almost a third.

Helena Morrissey is on a mission to tackle the issue of gender diversity in UK boardrooms. The investment fund manager realised that businesses across all sectors had become stuck at the point where 10 to 15 per cent of senior managers were women. In 2009, and with the backing of other women in business, she launched the 30% Club, a group of chairmen and organisations committed to bringing more women into boardrooms. Morrissey, 45, is chief executive of Newton Investment Management, a subsidiary of BNY Mellon. She also happens to be a mother of nine and feels a responsibility to help to create a fairer future. “It hasn’t always been plain sailing for me in terms of how I’ve been treated as a woman,” she says. “I want to use my influence to help improve things for the next generation.” The club is run by a committee of women from leading businesses who volunteer their time and skills. The 30 per cent represents the “critical mass”, where women move from being a minority to a real force for change, Morrissey says. So far, 43 chairmen have signed up to the club and its values. The next goal is to have 50 members by June. “It is interesting that no one can really put their finger on exactly what, apart from the childcare issue, is the cause of this lack of diversity,” Morrissey says. “I do think that the culture of the business world is one factor; it is designed around what works for men. We need to think much more laterally about how to attract and retain the best talent.” She is confident that her goal of 30 per cent female representation on boards by 2015 can be reached. “Twenty per cent by the end of this year, at least in FTSE 100 companies, is possible. We have gained a lot of momentum.” RACHEL POTTER

Diversity target fuels promotion drive at car rental company 6 Even though Enterprise Rent-A-Car has a woman president and chief operating officer in Pam Nicholson, its managers have noticed that women are often more reticent than men about grasping opportunities for progression. Last year, therefore, the global company, which has 3,345 employees in the UK, introduced a “top to future top” mentoring programme for talented women. As a result, 9 per cent have already achieved promotion. The company aims to hire a diverse workforce, mirroring the demographics of the communities in which it does business. Developing the female talent pipeline needs to start at the recruitment phase, and over the past year, Enterprise has increased the percentage of women recruits by almost 10 per cent, from 30 to 39 per cent. Another aspect of helping women to grasp opportunities is to ensure that they understand how career

progression works. In a recent staff survey, 83 per cent of women said they knew what they needed to do to advance within Enterprise (compared with 80 per cent of all UK employees). 6 A range of initiatives, including an equal pay audit, flexible working and ensuring that women have senior roles has earned Berwin Leighton Paisner a place in the Top 50. The City law firm, with a number of international offices, sets bands and medians for staff at each level and determines pay increases in line with these benchmarks. Payments to all staff are then audited as part of the annual salary review. The flexible working policy is open to all staff and taken up by one in seven, including some partners and associates. The firm publishes the gender split of key groups of staff, including partners, associates and trainees, and seeks to include women partners on all key committees, such as the partner vetting and remuneration committees.

6 DHL, the global distribution and logistics company, is keen to broaden its workforce to reflect the diversity of its market. In this traditionally male-dominated sector, just over a fifth of its 35,000 employees in the UK are female. Employees of DHL drive about half of all the retail distribution vehicles in the UK, including those of most of the major retailers and supermarkets. Sue Cowley, vice-president for talent management and diversity in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, says: “A lot of things we are doing is redressing the balance of history. We are building a long-term female pipeline. Many of our clients are retailers whose biggest customers are women, who in turn make up a significant degree of decision-making on the high street.” DHL has a women’s network, is aiming to increase the female graduate intake to 50 per cent and wants to increase the number of women in senior management roles by 2 per cent.

DEUTSCHE POST WORLD NET

DHL is keen to deliver on its targets for female staff


6

1GX

THE TIMES Thursday April 19 2012

Top 50 Employers

Top 50 Employers

A one-sized job no longer fits all Flexible working has transformed women’s career prospects, writes Jenny Knight

T

he rise of flexible working has boosted career opportunities for women who aspire to top jobs while also wanting to enjoy their family life. The routine working habits of 20 years ago, when staff had to be in the office from 9 to 5, have given way to extraordinary adaptability. There is a huge variety of working patterns, to help staff to cope with family responsibilities and also to give them time to study, take career breaks or to pursue hobbies. Mike Kelly, head of corporate social responsibility at KPMG, says: “The future of work is changing and we need to be flexible to accommodate lifestyles. Otherwise you run the risk of losing your most talented people.” Staff at KPMG can work “glide time” — changing their arrival and departure times — job-share, or work a three or four-day week or from

home. The company supported the rugby career of Sue Day, an England international, by agreeing to parttime working for eight years, a sabbatical for the 2002 World Cup and paid leave for the 2006 one. KPMG is about to launch an 18-month pilot scheme to see if jobsharing can be managed at the most senior levels of the company. In the past, opting to work part-time often destroyed prospects of promotion, but not any more. BT has more than 75,000 employees in the UK, of whom about 9,400 work from home. There are 4,300 part-time employees and 230 people sharing jobs. Thanks largely to this flexibility, nearly 99 per cent of new mothers return to work after maternity leave. The company has also found that flexible working has resulted in increased productivity and reduced sick leave. Helen Mullings, director of professional development at McKinsey & Company, says: “Primary carers who are looking after children or elderly parents can elect to go on a part-week programme. The minimum is 60 per cent, with 75 per cent more usual. Our consultants work on projects, so some people elect to take blocks of time off at the end of a project. “We are about to introduce fourweek blocks of unpaid leave on top of the four weeks’ paid leave, to allow

LORNE CAMPBELL / GUZELIAN

Part-time solution

Sue Richardson’s employers have taken a flexible approach to her career

people to pursue sporting passions or to go travelling. We have amazingly talented women and want to retain and advance them. Our leaving rate for women is now one quarter of the male leaving rate, showing that, if you get it right for women, they are a lot more loyal.” At Mars, flexible working has helped women to rise to the top — there is now a 50-50 gender split on

the board. Senior management strategy meetings start at 10am to allow parents to drop children at school, and major meetings are not scheduled during half-term holidays. Two female members of the senior management team were promoted while on maternity leave. A spokesman says: “Parity of pay for male and female associates, and flexible working hours, are of

Sue Richardson, 32, joined KPMG as a new graduate and trained for her accountancy qualifications with the company. She now has a son, Ben, who is nearly 2, and is pregnant with her second child. She says: “I work an annual average of a three-day week: I might work two days one week and four the next. I went on maternity leave with an open mind about returning. I found I wanted to continue, but not full-time. I have to be at clients’ beck and call. They pay for a service and don’t want to hear that I don’t work Tuesdays, so it is not always easy.” Ben goes to nursery school three days a week and Richardson can arrange emergency childcare with her parents or parents-in-law. “My firm has been hugely supportive in helping me move to part-time. I am flexible too; I take calls on non-working days. Sometimes I start my working day when my husband comes home in the evening.” JENNY KNIGHT

paramount importance to ensuring gender diversity at Mars. We approve 96 per cent of flexible working requests.” Santander and Ernst & Young also report benefits from flexible working. Accenture found that flexibility helped to boost the proportion of women staying for more than a year after returning from maternity leave from 75 to 90 per cent over five years.

‘Gender balance is a part of our DNA’ Simon Midgley

hears how some global big guns are meeting a challenge head on

H

ow do you make managers accountable for increasing the proportion of women in senior roles in British companies? This is one of the key challenges facing industry and commerce. PepsiCo, the global food and drinks company, which has more than 5,000 employees in the UK, is at the forefront of tackling the problem. Fiftythree per cent of its middle managers and senior executives are female and 80 per cent of its female executives are mothers. All the company’s directors and managers have gender diversity plans and every professional employee has an inclusion objective. Jane Burkitt, supply chain director for the UK and Ireland, says: “When you work at PepsiCo you have just as good a chance of progressing whether you are male, female, white or from an ethnic minority; it does not matter. What matters is that you are delivering in the right way.” “It’s a culture where people are very much encouraged to bring their

real selves to work, be authentic and be themselves.” Burkitt is a mother of two children, aged 3 and 5. She juggles family commitments with her role, which includes visiting distribution centres throughout the country. “Diversity and inclusion generally and specifically gender balance have become a part of the DNA of the business,” she says. GE, the advanced technology, services and finance company, has 90,000 employees in Europe — 18,000 of them in the UK — of whom about 40 per cent are female. Women make up a quarter of its main board in the US. At GE Capital, its financial business in the UK, 45 per cent of its senior leadership team are female and more than a third of its board are women. Diversity objectives are integral to GE. Its leadership teams are briefed monthly on the development and employment of female talent. At executive level, recruiters are required to include qualified women on shortlists. Mark Elborne, president and chief executive for the UK and Ireland, says: “We pride ourselves in attracting, developing and retaining the very best diverse talent and understand that it’s the combination of different backgrounds, experiences, skills and opinions that will keep our business competing successfully.” Gender and ethnic diversity is taken seriously at Dell, the multinational computer company. Its global diversity council, which is chaired by Michael Dell, the chief

PAUL ROGERS / THE TIMES

executive, ensures accountability throughout the 109,000 workforce worldwide. The executive leadership team is responsible for ensuring that global business units have appropriate diversity and inclusivity goals, which are integrated into talent and performance management. The company runs internal women’s networking groups, called Women in Search of Excellence. Staff go into schools to talk to pupils about careers in IT. Other initiatives include Connected Workplace, which allows staff to work from home, when

Top 50 Employers for Women Employer

Sector

Employer

Sector

Accenture

Professional Services

HM Revenue and Customs

Public Sector

Addleshaw Goddard

Legal

Hogan Lovells

Legal

American Express

Financial & Travel Services

Home Office

Public Sector

Arup

Engineering

IBM United Kingdom Ltd

ICT/Consultancy

BAE Systems

Defence

KPMG LLP

Professional Services

Bank of America Merrill Lynch Financial Services

Lloyds Banking Group

Financial Services

Barclays Bank Plc

Financial Services

Marks & Spencer plc

Retail

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP

Legal

Mars

Consumer Goods

BNY Mellon

Financial Services

McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd

Retail/Leisure

BT

Telecoms

McKinsey & Company

Consulting

Capgemini UK

Professional Services

Metropolitan

Housing

Citi

Financial Services

MITIE

Outsourcing

Credit Suisse

Financial Services

Morgan Stanley

Financial Services

Danone Ltd

Consumer Goods

National Grid plc

Utilities

Dell Corporation Ltd

Technology

Northern Trust

Financial Services

Deloitte LLP

Professional Services

PepsiCo

Consumer Goods

Deutsche Bank

Financial Services

Procter & Gamble

Consumer Goods

DHL Supply Chain

Logistics

PwC

Professional Services

Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Automotive

Rolls-Royce plc

Manufacturing/Engineering

Ernst & Young

Professional Services

Royal Air Force

Military

Eversheds LLP

Legal

Santander UK plc

Financial Services

GE

Infrastructure & Finance

Shell

Oil & Gas

Genesis Housing Association

Housing

Staffs Fire & Rescue Service

Public Sector

Goldman Sachs

Financial Services

The Royal Bank of Scotland

Financial Services

Google

Technology

Zibrant

Event Management

appropriate, and there are also training programmes designed to help women employees to become leaders. Citi, a leading global financial services company, is committed to gender and ethnic diversity. Xanic Jones, a senior diversity specialist at Citi, says that in its European, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, 49 per cent of its employees are female, although the proportion of women diminishes at senior executive level. The company does not set specific gender balance targets, Jones says, but females are represented at all

Jane Burkitt of PepsiCo, with children Tom and Ava, says that being a mother does not stop employees rising through the ranks

levels. Citi’s goal is to increase the representation of women and ethnic minorities in senior positions worldwide. The EMEA region has a senior diversity committee consisting of regional business leaders, each of whom sponsors an employee network and acts as a diversity advocate. The company also has a clutch of coaching and development programmes for senior women executives and a women’s network, Citi Women, one of several initiatives for employees


8

1GX

9

THE TIMES Thursday April 19 2012

Top 50 Employers Cracking CodeF As a young company, Google has a certain advantage when it comes to diversity. That is the view of Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe, the company’s head of diversity and inclusion for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “As an organisation, from top to bottom, we understand that having more women engineers is great for our business. I haven’t had to convince people that it’s a good idea to come up with new, innovative ways of getting more women in the company,” he says. In November, Google launched CodeF, a recruitment project to identify female computer scientists who have the potential to work at Google. Fifty students from 14 UK universities were invited to meet engineers, hear talks, network and, as part of a team, create a new Android app. The top participants were then invited to apply for a course, during which a Google engineer delivered virtual mentoring using Google technology. This allows flexibility, Palmer-Edgecumbe says, with participants spending more time on the project than if meeting face-to-face. Each week was themed, with topics ranging from interview skills and CV-writing to technical skills such as writing algorithms. “They are given all the skills to succeed in our interview process — or indeed in any job in the technology sector,” says Palmer-Edgecumbe, who nonetheless hopes that many will apply for jobs at Google. A number of CodeF attendees have been hired by Google for internships this summer. “We are finding candidates who would not have considered working at Google before,” he says. Zibrant, the event company has far more women staff than men but not in IT, predominantly a male area. So the company has implemented an internal development programme to encourage women with high potential into the sector. FAY SCHOPEN

Top 50 Employers

Plenty of room in a man’s world From engineer to firefighter, women bring fresh ideas, says Fay Schopen

A

s a child, Hannah Latham wanted to be a doctor, but things did not work out as planned. “I did a medical work placement when I was a teenager and I hated it,” she says. Medicine’s loss was engineering’s gain and, after studying engineering at the University of Cambridge, Latham joined Rolls-Royce’s graduate scheme in 2009. In 2011 she was hired as a design engineer. Looking for a career that matched scientific rigour with creativity, Latham says she was “struck by the potential to make a real difference” by working in engineering. “Engineering helps the world to move forward,” she says, citing advances in medicine, communication and construction. While on the graduate scheme, Latham went to Holland to help to test a reduced-fuel aircraft engine and was part of a team that implemented a new process used during the manufacturing of blisks — bladed discs used in engines. “It was very rewarding,” she says, noting that the innovation will save Rolls-Royce £1 million over three years. In her current role at the company’s research centre in Derby, she concentrates on marine, energy and nuclear research projects. Her scope MICHAEL WALTER / TROIKA

extends from initial research to modelling, laboratory test work and strategy and marketing. She hopes to become a chief engineer. “Female chief engineers are in a distinct minority at the moment.” she says. Latham believes that, as a woman, she brings a fresh perspective to her work. When starting a project, she begins by making a list of people to talk to. But a male engineer, she says, will make a list of tasks. “A different approach encourages diversity. I’ve always found that to be a good thing; it helps you to have ideas.” Donna Halkyard, the head of diversity and inclusion at BAE Systems, agrees. Making staff aware that diversity is good for business is vital, she says. “Diversity and inclusion is strategic — it can improve performance and fill future skill requirements.” Diane Dunlevey, the equality and diversity manager at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, says diverse skills improve the performance of an entire team: “A good firefighter is not all about physical strength and stamina. Firefighters need to have the skills to work as part of a team. Much of the job involves working together, which means being considerate, resourceful, innovative and decisive.” Hard work is being done to shift public perception that firefighters are “big, strong, 6ft men”. Dunlevey says that most work is community-based, focusing on safety and education. “The job is extraordinarily diverse, so the workforce needs to reflect that.” The service has worked with girls aged from 14 to 16 at a youth group in Cannock. “At the beginning, no one wanted to be a firefighter; by the end they all said they wanted to join the service,” she says. Women make up almost 6 per cent

S

of the service, which Dunlevey says is higher than average. Turnover is low, so the service rarely recruits. “But we continue to strive to make the job appealing to women,” she says. When it comes to engineering, Miriam Oliver, a development engineer at the National Grid, says that the job has an image problem, with engineers seen as “boffins”. “People cannot relate to engineering as a career for women,” she says. But she believes that will change as more women enter the profession. “Engineering is not just about tinkering. It’s about planning something from cradle to grave.” Oliver, based in Chorley, Lancashire, works with high-voltage electricity systems, assessing and managing all the company’s asset management projects. After deciding the action required — for example, replacing conductors — she manages the process, looking at every aspect from cost to practical details, such as how to

I make lists of people to talk to. Men make lists of tasks gain access to the circuit. Last November, the National Grid launched the Construction Engineer Training Programme, which has looked at recruitment methods and placed targeted job adverts that emphasise inclusivity. This, it says, is a real attempt at diversity at the point of entry and is aimed at both women and ethnic minorities.

Simon Midgley

W

ith the reputation of banks at an all-time low, three of our leading financial groups are regaining public respect with ground-breaking initiatives to increase the number of their female and ethnic-minority employees. “I think we get our reputation back by demonstrating that we are a valuable, contributing part of the community again in the way that the old bank manager used to be,” says Chris Sullivan, chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s corporate banking division, who champions fairer representation of women and ethnic minorities in the company.

“We are constantly looking to recover our reputation,” he says. “We need to influence society by taking a lead on issues such as gender diversity.” Sullivan believes that a more balanced representation is not simply an issue of fairness but is a vital commercial issue. The more diverse the workforce, the better their decisionmaking will be. “If you want to be a successful business, you should be looking to get a significantly diverse set of relevantly skilled individuals making decisions in every part of your organisation,” he says. “The issue is not about getting a bunch of women off the streets and putting them on an all-male board. That will not make a difference. It is about having relevantly trained individuals moving into senior positions throughout the organisation in much greater numbers than they currently do. It is about getting decision-making at every level much more gender-diverse. “The really important issue here is

Doyens of the diverse cause Eastern premise

The Royal Air Force is engaged in a five-year gender recruitment strategy to attract more women into technical jobs. Currently only 8 per cent of graduate engineers are women and only 5 per cent of technicians. MITIE, the outsourcing company, has also launched an initiative aimed at attracting women into engineering apprenticeships and under-represent-

Initiatives add polish to Campaigns to improve balance are winning new admirers, reports

Increased diversity can help financial institutions to regain their reputation

INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE FORCE

that it is about businesses becoming more successful and better. This actually builds our economy and creates a bigger pie for everybody to share in. Quotas of female and ethnic minority representatives on boards is not the answer. If the roles are not filled by the right people, it’s a waste of time.” RBS’s clutch of initiatives include a burgeoning internal women’s network, diversity and inclusion forums, and a Women in Business Ambassadors programme. At least one female must be included on all internal recruitment shortlists. Women make up a quarter of the board. The bank’s enhanced recruitment programme has increased the proportion of female executive managers from 10 to 18 per cent and that of female senior managers from 20 to 26 per cent over the past six years. At Lloyds Banking Group — whose brands include Lloyds TSB, Halifax and the Bank of Scotland — 60 per cent of its 120,000 employees are women but this split is not reflected at senior level. Obstacles to female

An all-female line-up of engineering officers at Joint Helicopter Command, Afghanistan

ed trade apprenticeships such as plumbing, electrical and construction. Oliver adds that promoting flexible working is key to attracting and retaining women. The National Grid offers flexible working, yet she says that there is a shortage of role models with responsibilities outside the workforce. “Working as an engineer and being a mother are not mutually

exclusive”. As for getting ahead in engineering, Latham advises people to “be themselves”. She says: “It is fine to be an engineer and have hobbies— I enjoy dancing. Women often try to hide these things or feign an interest in football. There are a lot of opportunities in engineering — go for them, grab them. It’s often hard and challenging, but you’ll reap rewards.”

banks’ tarnished image progression include home/work balance issues and a lack of visible female role models. Initiatives introduced include the Footprints in the Snow programme, in which the bank’s top 40 female executives hold coaching sessions with up to 25 women below them to talk about career paths, give top tips and relate how they achieved success. The coached women then hold their own sessions with a similar number of women in lower management grades. There are talent development programmes for the group’s middle to senior female managers, and the bank’s top 40 women come together in a leaders’ forum for female leadership development.

The issue is making sure we have a female talent pipeline

Another scheme supports women in becoming non-executive directors and there is also the Mentoring Foundation, which allows senior female executives to be mentored by the chairmen of other companies and organisations. Lloyds has also recently relaunched its internal women’s network. Sir Win Bischoff, the bank’s chairman, is a founder member of the 30% Club, which encourages chairmen of FTSE 100 companies to increase the number of women on their boards. Fiona Cannon, Lloyds’ diversity and inclusion director, says: “The big issue for us is making sure we have a genuine female talent pipeline that starts quite far back in the organisation — a ten-year programme. “There has to be a woman on external shortlists and on internal shortlists for senior roles. We are doing a lot to help women entrepreneur customers and are looking at how we can help our female customers.” Barclays Bank, which has more than 140,000 employees worldwide, just over half of whom are female,

aspires to being the employer and bank of choice for women. Mark McLane, its head of global diversity and inclusion, says: “In general, we look for continuous improvement of female representation at multiple levels across the organisation.” While 52 per cent of employees are women, they are less well represented in decision-making roles. Globally, however, the number of female senior managers has increased from 20.6 per cent in 2007 to 23.7 per cent in 2010. The target for female representation on its board is 20 per cent by 2013 and 25 per cent by 2015. Barclays’ key strategies include: Women’s Initiative Networks, led by senior female members of staff, which encourage women to achieve their potential; its Women of the Year Awards; women-focused presentations at careers fairs and university milk rounds to demonstrate career opportunities to female graduates; plus a comprehensive global programme of events to support International Women’s Day.

ince becoming UK chief executive of Deutsche Bank three years ago, Colin Grassie has put a lot of time and energy into bringing more diversity to its workforce. His actions are motivated by a firm belief in the business case: the aim is not to even up the numbers for the sake of it, he says, but to improve business performance. “Teams that are genuinely diverse, not only in terms of gender but in nationalities, languages and viewpoints, are more innovative, more creative and produce better results for our clients.” Grassie has previously worked in the US and Asia. In Asia, he was struck by the number of women in senior roles. He has also noticed, during his travels around the world, that most decisions that relate to the movement of money are either made or influenced by women. This only adds to the business case for diversity that any bank would be foolish to ignore, he says. Since joining Deutsche Bank in the UK, Grassie has taken the lead on several diversity initiatives. He set up and chairs the People Committee, which works to embed a commitment to diversity across the business. He has also hosted briefings for hundreds of recruitment professionals, in which he shares the bank’s commitment to recruiting greater numbers of women to senior roles. He mentors several women in the senior management team and pro-

Man on a mission: Colin Grassie

actively seeks opportunities for women to join the boards. Grassie says that the banking sector still needs to improve its image, particularly when it comes to recruiting the most talented women early in their careers. Since he joined the UK bank, more women have been appointed to promotion panels and progress has been made on recruitment, with the proportion of women joining the top three management tiers increasing significantly. On a global level, Deutsche Bank is committed to 25 per cent of women at managing director and director level by 2018. Grassie says that gender diversity is a “mission critical” topic that the boards of all leading UK businesses need to address as a priority: “The mission is clear and we need everyone to buy into it.” RACHEL POTTER

Bold approach

F

earless Behaviour is not the title of an action movie, but an innovative project that IBM is using to bring out the best in its consultants. Graham Wright, consulting services leader, says that IBM tries to embed diversity and inclusion in all activities, rather than relying on special projects: “As soon as something becomes a diversity project, it risks being marginalised. We try to build diversity objectives and principles into things that we already do.” The fearless behaviour initiative encourages employees to think creatively about how to tackle challenging tasks, abandoning their preconceptions of corporate behaviour. “People can put on a sort of straitjacket when they are at work, instead of using all the skills and talents that they deploy at home,” Wright says. “We are encouraging them to be a little bolder, to throw themselves into things. We’re giving them permission to be themselves.” His aim is to highlight IBM as a more attractive employer for everyone. He conducted research with women who had applied unsuccessfully to the company or declined an approach from it. From this he created a new offer for all potential employees that includes more flexible working arrangements. The company has also introduced a career sponsorship programme for women. “We have subtly different ambitions and attitudes to risk,” Wright

Better behaviour: Graham Wright

says. “At the risk of generalisation, these factors do correlate with gender. If you allow that to continue without intervention, men will typically put themselves forward for promotion more often and be more likely to succeed. We are not changing the criteria for promotion but we are trying to level the playing field.” He says his approach is straightforward business logic driven by three key factors. Firstly, competing for the very best talent. Secondly, IBM needs to mirror its diverse client base. And thirdly, in a sector that is “all about innovation and creativity”, there is a commercial benefit in having employees with diverse perspectives. “Diversity contributes to improved creativity, design and challenge, and it means that we come up with better solutions.” RACHEL POTTER


10

1GX

THE TIMES Thursday April 19 2012

Top 50 Employers

Top 50 Employers

Think small to achieve the bigger picture Subtle changes in behaviour can result in major benefits, reports Fay Schopen

S

ometimes, when you want to change the big things, it’s the small things that count. “Biases are often subtle things, like the way language is used. But we know that by getting people to do things differently we can change behaviours.” This is the credo of Sarah Churchman, head of diversity at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). “Most organisations looking at diversity realise they must do something about unconscious bias,” she says. The company launched a mandatory Open Mind survey last year. Using online videos and quizzes, it tested employees on their flexibility. Those deemed to be habit-led rather

than flexible were urged to do something different, such as sitting somewhere else in the office or asking a junior colleague for help with a problem. Six months later, 83 per cent of those who had changed their behaviour said they felt more open-minded. “I think people now understand that Open Mind is not just a training programme and that it is the small things that count,” Churchman says. Paying attention to detail is also championed at American Express. Latraviette Smith, vice-president of global diversity and inclusion, says the company’s Gender Intelligence scheme is one way to drive change. Leaders are taught to be aware of the differences in how men and women think, process information, communicate and interact. This, Smith says, means more effective team-building and decision-making. While staff are assessed in annual performance reviews, leaders are specifically scored on their efforts to build a diverse workforce. Sponsorship has emerged as a key area at Goldman Sachs, the investment bank and securities company. A staff survey last year revealed that women did not feel that an

CORBIS

Mentoring in reverse leads to better workplace relations, says

‘‘

Habit-led employees were urged by the company to sit somewhere else in the office

in-house sponsorship scheme was working effectively. Sally Boyle, head of the human capital management division for Europe, Middle East and Africa, says: “We found there was a lack of natural affinity with the sponsors.” As a result, the company relaunched the programme in Europe. Women will be given coaching to ensure they get the most out of the relationship. Sponsorship involves active advocacy, as opposed to mentoring, Boyle says. “The sponsor will see how these women operate and will be able to help to endorse them when it comes to promotion, for example. Hopefully this will drive cultural change.” Employee feedback also kickstarted change at Genesis Housing

Time for you to take dictation, Mr Chairman Jenny Knight

Association, when a staff survey in 2010 found that only 45 per cent of employees felt senior managers showed leadership on diversity. And although 60 per cent of the association’s workforce was female, only 17 per cent were senior managers. Employees were asked about their experiences of inclusion. Findings were translated into actions aimed at getting women into senior roles. For example, although the company offers flexible working, not all employees were aware of it and managers often did not understand how it worked. Kulbir Shergill, deputy director of diversity and inclusiveness at Genesis, says that support from senior male colleagues was key to changing

attitudes. “Flexible working is not just a policy issue for women. Leaders send such a strong message; you have to start there.” The company’s efforts are paying off. About 37 per cent of the senior management team are female, as are half of middle management. Flexible working has helped to drive change at Northern Trust, the investment management company. “We had flexible working in place long before it came into vogue,” says Gill Pembleton, an executive vicepresident. “It is important to us to attract and retain female talent. Forty per cent of our executive vicepresidents in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region are women and we are very proud of that.”

M

entoring helps talented employees to fulfil their potential — but at Procter & Gamble the idea has been turned on its head to achieve even better results. Geraldine Huse, general manager, customer business development at P&G UK and Ireland, came up with the idea of reverse mentoring to give senior managers feedback from those lower down the rankings. She says: “An anonymous survey showed that people down the organisation felt some senior management didn’t really interact. The managers were surprised, because they felt that they were approachable and accessible. So I suggested the managers could have a mentoring relationship with someone junior.” The idea was tried out. Male managers were given a junior, female mentor and senior women were given a

junior male mentor to provide honest feedback on leadership styles. Huse has now been mentored by a senior and a junior and has also provided mentoring to one of the company’s high-ups. She says: “My junior male mentor suggested that I should use a microphone when addressing large meetings because my voice didn’t carry to the back of a room and he also criticised my consensual style of managing. He pointed out that if it was a minor issue I should just say: ‘Do it this way,’ rather than discussing it and listening to opinions.” When it was her turn to mentor a senior colleague, Huse discovered the reason he did not mix much with junior staff was because he felt he did not know them well enough and was shy about starting conversations. She suggested that, instead of replying to information by e-mail, he should find the person who had good news and congratulate them. This would give him the opportunity to ask how everything else was going and would give staff the chance to start a conversation. Other people in the room would hear his congratulations and come to the conclusion that he was easy to approach. Other companies also find mentoring is a valuable way of getting the best out of people and encouraging women to aim high. At Credit Suisse, a pilot scheme is

linking mentoring with critical problem-solving. Five teams of six potentially high-achieving women are tackling a project. Each team member has a choice of one of two executive board members to seek guidance from as the task progresses. Laura Barrowman, a managing director in the company’s IT division, based in London, is one of the team investigating how to penetrate the German market more successfully. “Working on a real business problem makes it exceptionally useful. It is a structured 18-month programme with high-calibre lectures as well as mentoring. Our group is made up of people across the spectrum, not those with any expertise in Germany. “Part of the hugely beneficial pro-

Junior mentors at P&G give feedback on leadership styles cess for the protégées is learning about another part of the business and building up contacts and relationships with other female MDs.” At Shell, the Women’s Network helps to drive the company’s strategy

Geraldine Huse has been mentored by both senior and junior employees

to attract, retain and advance talented women, using mentorship as one of the tools. The network runs mentoring circles, both face-to-face and virtually, to encourage women to explore their potential by giving them access to more experienced senior leaders. On one occasion 90 women joined a mentoring session online. Alongside traditional mentoring, the network encourages senior leaders to act as sponsors of women, to increase the numbers of future female leaders with high potential. At Ernst & Young, a maternity coaching scheme was launched to

help to retain women and to advance their career development. Already 240 people across UK and Ireland have joined the scheme. They are given four tailored coaching sessions that take place before, during and after maternity leave, and that deal with issues such as managing relationships with clients and colleagues, exploring alternative work patterns and reintegrating into the workforce. Line managers also attend a coaching session on how to provide support to team members returning from maternity leave.


12

1GX

THE TIMES Thursday April 19 2012

Top 50 Employers Culture change Women are still massively under-represented on the boards of major UK companies. But at Danone, exactly half of their UK board members are women. Danone says that this statistic shapes the way the organisation is run. Women lead sales and marketing, the two biggest departments. The women directors serve as visible role models and also act as mentors for other women in the company. Best known for yoghurts and bottled waters, Danone boasts a strong flexible working programme and does not let women’s desire for family life impede their prospects. Corinne Chant went on maternity leave last year as brand marketing manager and returned to become marketing director. Commercial director Emma Taylor is currently on maternity leave and will be returning to her role in June. Meanwhile, Delphine Bert is covering her role. Muriel Pénicaud, executive vice-president, human resources, says: “Diversity brings us out of our comfort zone and is worth it. The objective is to boost business by being a reflection of society and creating the conditions of company transformation. “Gender equality is embedded in our organisation’s culture and provides a strong opportunity to grow our talent. We believe this focus helps to make Danone a great place to work for everyone.” JENNY KNIGHT

Top 50 Employers

The boardroom vanishing act Sarah Butler asks

why women in retail climb so far, only to disappear near the summit

S

hopping is one part of the UK economy where it seems women should be in charge. More than 80 per cent of purchases are made by women — and women comprise more than half of most retailers’ shopfloor staff. Sadly, that dominance does not stretch to the boardroom. Although 60 per cent of employees in retail are women, just 23 per cent work in managerial roles and only 8 per cent make purchasing decisions within these organisations, according to a report by Skillsmart, the retail skills council, in 2010. It is true that there is a growing number of women in top jobs, including chief executives Kate Swann, of

W H Smith, Angela Arhendts at Burberry, Melissa Potter at Clarks and Jill McDonald at McDonald’s UK. However, Susan Vinnicombe, professor of organisational behaviour and diversity management at Cranfield School of Management, says: “Retail does stand out. So many women come up through the ranks but at the top they seem to disappear.” Supermarkets provide a good illustration. Lucy Neville-Rolfe, the director of corporate and legal affairs at Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, was the only female executive director out of a team of seven until a recent spate of departures. Its executive committee, responsible for the day-to-day running of the business, includes two women out of a total of 13. J Sainsbury has three women on its 11-strong operating board. At Morrisons, all executive and management board members are male: there are two female non-executive directors on its main board. Judith McKenna, chief operating officer at Asda, is blazing the trail for women at the top of the supermarket world. She agrees that being aware of a tendency among women

to hang back is key to helping colleagues to realise their potential within a business. “As jobs become more senior and the hours more difficult, we have to look at how we can become more flexible as an employer,” she says. Such cultural change requires real commitment from top management but can drive progress quite quickly. Given that most shopping is done by women, making the extra effort is good news for the employees and the business, McKenna says. “We should have a colleague base and management that is reflective of our customers. It is just common sense.” Cranfield’s most recent study of women in the boardroom of companies listed on the London stock market found that major retailers, including Kingfisher, the owner of B&Q, J Sainsbury and Tesco, are all aiming for just 25 per cent of their boards to be made up of women by 2015. Some retailers stand out from the crowd. Marks & Spencer and McDonald’s, the fast-food chain, are among a small group that appears determined to bring about change.

STEVE HICKS / GETTY IMAGES

The dominance of women on the shopfloor does not extend to the top of the tree

M&S has two female executive directors out of a total of six: Kate Bostock, director of general merchandise, and Laura Wade-Gery, director of multi-channel e-commerce. There are three other women on its board: non-executives Miranda Curtis and Martha Lane Fox; and Amanda Mellor, group secretary and

In an era where creativity is key, diversity is critical

head of corporate governance. Deborah Warman, head of employee relations and reward, says that having women at all levels of the business helps to ensure that the company has an insight into its mainly female customers’ needs. Diverse teams also tend to produce more innovative work, which helps

the company to stay ahead of the competition. “In an era when creativity is key to competitiveness, diversity is critical to success,” Warman says. Marks & Spencer offered all employees the right to request flexible working in 2003. But Warman says: “It is not just about having flexible working policies in place. Employers need to create a culture where people don’t feel judged for asking for flexibility.” She believes that that environment helps to support more women into senior managerial and executive positions through natural succession. Both M&S and McDonald’s say that flexible working opportunities make their businesses attractive to women who want to fit work around family life. At McDonald’s, Jill McDonald (her surname is a coincidence), leads a team in which 34 per cent of senior managers are women. The ability to choose shifts to suit the school run means that more than half its restaurant staff are women. Jez Langhorn, vice-president, people, says that the company discovered that women found it hard to take the step from restaurant to middle-management positions. As a result, the company gives extra help at that level. “It is not favouritism; it is to give women the opportunity to be the best they can,” he says. Help includes a mentoring programme and training on how to increase “personal impact” by improving communication techniques. “Often women can lack self-belief and confidence,” Langhorn says. To combat that problem, the company tries to identify women who it believes have the skills and abilities to move up.

Chain reaction With two teenage daughters, Jez Langhorn is no doubt well aware of woman power. As vice-president, people, at McDonald’s UK, Langhorn, right, has been instrumental in ensuring the fast-food chain harnesses women’s skills and abilities. He sees his role as: “Helping our people be the best they can be, whoever they are and wherever they come from.” Langhorn took on the job in 2010 after more than six years in McDonald’s HR team. It identified a particular obstacle for the development of female talent. Women make up more than half the staff on the shop floor, but that proportion drops to 30 per cent at middle-management level. Langhorn found that the problem was not only the additional time and travel involved in moving to regional management: many women did not believe they had the ability to move up. After identifying the problem, Langhorn helped McDonald’s to introduce a women’s leadership programme for middle managers, teaching self-confidence and communication skills. “It is important to analyse things rigorously so that you find out what issues people have and what you can do to support them,” he says. The company also has a women’s leadership network. Groups around the country meet regularly to support women throughout the business. Langhorn was also responsible

for the innovative Family and Friends Contract, which launched in 2007. It allows employees from the same family or who are friends working in the same restaurant to share and cover each other’s shifts, with no prior notice. Langhorn says there are pros and cons to being a man promoting programmes to support women. “One of the pros is that there is no ulterior motive. It is about the business making the best decisions and continuing to be successful, and having good gender diversity is a big part of it. “Women are clever and have something to offer to the debate. On our board, having the right mix of men and women means we make more robust, better decisions. I am convinced of it and we can see it from the results.” SARAH BUTLER


14

1GX

THE TIMES Thursday April 19 2012

Top 50 Employers

Releasing potential Ex-offenders are among those being helped by companies, says Jenny Knight

F

rom aiding ex-offenders to sponsoring football teams, the Top 50 Employers for women help to promote women’s equality in the community as well as in the workplace. MITIE, the strategic outsourcing and energy services company, works with women ex-offenders by building relationships with Working Chance, a charity that helps women in the difficult transition from incarceration to the outside world. Karen Govier, group diversity and inclusion manager, says: “Working Chance helps with writing CVs, interview techniques and raising selfesteem. It runs working lunches and talks about what kind of employment might be possible. Our job is to give these women hope and we want to work with major clients who are open to the recruitment of ex-offenders. We plan to hold an event where MITIE staff can donate items suitable for women to wear for interviews or at work.”

MITIE arranges practical demonstrations in skills such as bricklaying, carpentry, painting and decorating to encourage more schoolgirls to work in the construction and engineering sectors. To back up this drive the company has launched a targeted recruitment campaign to encourage women into engineering apprenticeships. Another company reaching out to young women is IBM, which puts on Women in Technology workshops for 200 girls aged from 12 to 13 each year, along with technology camps to foster interest in Year 8 pupils. Metropolitan Housing Trust supports a football club for women living on the Chalkhill estate in Brent, which gives young Muslim women an opportunity to take part in sports and to engage with the local community. The joint project between Metropolitan and the al-Bahdja Community Group has proved very popular and Metropolitan has gone on to generate external funding for 41 other sporting activities. Hogan Lovells has so far given 500 hours of free legal advice to social entrepreneurs through its charity partners, which include Ashoka, an association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, and UnLtd, a charity that helps social entrepreneurs with funding and support. The company has also given pro bono legal support to some of the winners of the Big Venture Challenge — run by UnLtd — to find 25 of the UK’s most dynamic social entre-

JUAN M. CASILLAS / GETTY IMAGES

MITIE helps women to make the transition from jail to the outside world

preneurs. Hogan Lovells also teaches debating and public speaking skills to primary and secondary school children and this year sponsored pupils from Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in North London to take part in a female leadership programme in Washington DC. The international law firm also works with charities to help women and children who have been trafficked into the UK and, through

the National Centre for Domestic Violence, gives women legal help. BoAML focuses on working with teenagers by forming partnerships with local schools and running events for female school-leavers aimed at encouraging them to consider a career in banking. The company also offers nine-week internships and strives to ensure a good representation of women, while promoting a commitment to gender equality.

Up to the mark The companies leading the way in promoting equality at work that you have read about in this Times Focus Report were selected after rigorous investigation. Last year The Times entered a new partnership with Opportunity Now, the gender campaign of Business in the Community, to ensure that the Top 50 list is open to the widest range of organisations possible. Business in the Community is one of The Prince’s Charities, a group of not-for-profit organisations, and has a membership of more than 850 companies. Employers are asked to provide detailed information on what their organisation does internally as a top employer for women as well as what it does externally to promote gender equality, diversity and inclusion and to create opportunities for women in a wider context. All the entry forms were stringently marked against a framework of best practice and assessed by a team of diversity experts. Helen Wells, Opportunity Now director, says: “The high number of entries and incredibly high standard of work being done towards gender equality and inclusion meant the judging process was very competitive. But what stood out as a common attribute for all 2012 Top 50 Employers was a clear focus on integration, innovation and impact.” TONY DAWE


The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2012  

The TimesTop 50 Employers for Women Supplement 2012

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you