Women in finance charter

Supporting women’s development

Nurturing an inclusive culture, we believe is vital to our success, both now and in the future.

We have achieved a lot in a short space of time yet recognise as we look forward there is much more to be done. To create sustainable change, we have made investment in our inclusion team and are actively reviewing our policies to ensure that they are competitive, clear, and fully inclusive. We continue to champion new ways of working and flexibility, with colleagues trusted to make the right choice in where, when, and how they work – collaborating with colleagues and servicing clients in a way that is determined by each team.

Supporting women through their working and personal lives, the early days of building a career and gaining confidence as they progress internally requires flexibility, shared vulnerability, active listening, and supportive leadership. Our new Balance gender networks are one way we are seeking to remain close to the true experiences of women in the firm, Balance are a visible collective of colleagues who act as a passionate voice, ensuring tangible change happens.

In 2024 we will continue our commitment to develop a programme which will help advance women below senior manager level, with female development and retention of particular importance to us. The average length of service of a female senior manager is seven years.

In 2023 we created internal career opportunities e.g., 33% of promotions in senior manager roles were female with 55.5% of all promotions going to women. Three senior female leaders took lateral career moves to broaden their experiences.

We have set out clear actions to reduce the gender & ethnicity pay gap. This has helped us identify where progressive action needs to be taken.

In 2023 we set a target of 35% of women in senior leadership roles by the end of 2023. In August 2023 we have 27% of women in senior leadership roles, this is an increase from 24% when we first signed the Charter but is below the target, we had set. With change only happening when we act, gender, along with social mobility and ethnicity has been set as a strategic priority in 2024.

Lindsey Rix, our CEO, was listed in the HERoes Role Models List for the third year running in 2023, this acknowledges her passionate advocacy for women’s inclusion.

Our actions this year

  • We have launched a number of development programmes including a leadership development programme, a mentoring scheme for talented women and created Board Director positions many of which were filled by senior female talent.
  • Our CEO, Lindsey Rix-Broom mentors five aspiring female colleagues, with a further 20 female colleagues being mentored by other senior leaders, including our COO, Caroline Dibbs.
  • The theme for International Women’s Day was Embrace Equity. In 2023 we showcased colleague support, using personal interviews to broaden perceptions, challenge stereotypes and celebrate women’s achievements. We also used this as a call to action to establish female involvement in our Balance network.
  • We are committed to supporting women and talking openly, positively, and respectfully about the menopause and have signed the UK Workplace Menopause pledge, created a menopause toolkit for leaders and colleagues and we launched Peppy, the dedicated menopause app service was launched to all colleagues, offering free and confidential support.
  • We have become members of the charity Working Families signalling a clear commitment to being an inclusive, family friendly employer – recognising that for many women they are juggling more than one ‘hat’.
  • We continue to introduce diverse candidate shortlists for roles, and we have made a public statement on flexibility on each job adverts encouraging people to talk with us as flexible working is a win-win, opening opportunities to people who otherwise may not be able to work.

Our plans for 2024

We have more plans to increase female representation in senior roles in 2024 including:

  • Continue to track and reporting the success of diverse candidates through our selection process.
  • The introduction of an additional talent development scheme, after the successful launch of our Orbit programme in 2023.
  • Tapping in to the returnship talent pool, we have a desire to launch our first Returnship programme, attracting those women who have been out of the finance industry for an extended period back into the workplace.
  • Boosting our support to our Gender Balance Network, with quarterly network ‘lifting the lid’ conversations scheduled.
  • Participating in International Women’s Day and International Men’s Day in 2024, as well as other relevant awareness days including World Menopause Day and Baby Loss Awareness Week – however we are clear that it is not just a day, our wellbeing and DEI focus is all year round.
  • Establishing a Family Network, providing support to those with parental and caring responsibilities, sharing stories, and educating.
  • Introducing back to work maternity return mentors, supporting colleagues during their first 12 / 18 months back in work post maternity / adoption.

International Women's Day

We spoke to some of our colleagues on driving positive change for gender diversity within Canada Life and the wider industry.

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