Francesca McDonagh surprised by fewer women in banks' executive roles

March 21
6:56 AM 2016

Francesca McDonagh, head of HSBC's retail business in the UK, is astonished over the lack of female representatives in the banking sector. She is worried about the slow progress of female reps in senior posts.

Francesca McDonagh said 'I just assumed when I was 21 or 22 that when I was in my 40s it would have changed. I found it quite shocking that it hasn't changed really and the representation and proportion of women at the most senior levels in the industry remains quite poor.'  She added that innovative plans must be implemented to accomplish gender equity in the corporate environment.

According to her, bank chiefs must link their bonuses to the appointment of female staffs in senior positions. McDonagh quoted Jayne-Anne Gadhia, chief executive officer of Virgin Money, who stated that female executives might have prevented the financial crisis in the central bank. Government legislators also pointed out that 'laddish' ethos has pushed the banking industry into a pool of financial turmoil, as reported by This is MONEY.

Gadhia was exiled from Royal Bank of Scotland nearly a decade ago by Richard Branson. She campaigned against the gender inequity in the corporate workplace. According to Gadhia, banks must fix their own goal with regard to gender equity in the corporate arena. In addition, the new bonus goals are likely to cause endless troubles for the banking industry.

Meanwhile, the Bank of England, which has been examining gender equality in banks over the recent nine-month period, is attempting to roll out the remaining banks into its new bonus scheme. The central bank recommends bank heads to link their bonuses to the growing number of women representatives in executive positions.

This new policy on gender equity issue will be introduced by Jayne-Anne Gadhia at the central bank on Tuesday. In November 2015, the Treasury set forth a number of policies in connection with gender diversity in the banking sector. These policies required banks to have their own gender balance goals, revealing their gender diversity plans publicly and also the appointment of an executive accountable for diversity, inclusion and gender at the bank, as reported by CITY A.M.

Gadhia said that this new bonus goal will create an awareness in the UK banking industry and alert them regarding the fewer number of female representatives in the executive position. She added that females will currently fill more than 25% of no-executive posts at FTSE 100 firms - in line with the target set by Vince Cable, a previous business secretary, in 2011.

Jayne-Anne Gadhia said at the Management Today's Inspiring Women Edinburgh conference that nearly 62% of candidates in the financial sector are females. However, this trend changes as far as senior posts are concerned. The median percentage of females in middle management positions will be just 14% and it is still narrowed at top most levels, she added.

Jayne-Anne Gadhia is more worried about the lack of female executives in the UK banking sector. She requests bank heads to come forward with new recruitment agenda focusing on women in executive roles.

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