New GBA Working Group to Explore Elevating Women into the C-suite

Wednesday 30th January 2019

Gender D&I Working Group SquareOrganizations endeavoring to serve both women and men effectively need to ensure their workforce is reflective of their entire customer base. GBA research shows banks with stronger internal gender diversity and inclusion (D&I) across all levels of the organization perform better with the Women’s Market, yet financial services institutions have historically struggled with gender D&I – particularly at the upper levels. In recognition of the synergies between external Women’s Market success and internal D&I programs, GBA is joining forces with Mercer to develop a suite of programs and services dedicated to gender D&I. The robust offerings of the gender D&I practice area will mirror those of the Women’s Market overall, with dedicated Working Groups, Study Tours, All-Stars Academies, Mentoring Program cohorts, Case Studies, and a how-to guide to “Becoming the Employer of Choice for Women” – a member-only, step-by-step guide that stands as a parallel publication to the current GBA how-to guide, “Winning the Women’s Market.”

As a first stage of its strategic partnership, the GBA and Mercer will launch a Women in Leadership Working Group that builds on the recently concluded GBA gender D&I Working Group. Starting in March 2019, the Working Group will consist of 8-10 webinar sessions held monthly, exploring the main challenges and best practices to advance and sustain women senior leaders.

Representation of female and male employees of financial services firms at all levels, Mercer, “When Women Thrive, Businesses Thrive: Financial Services Perspective”

The Problem with so few Women at the Top

At many financial services firms, female representation is strong at the entry level; however, this number diminishes precipitously the higher the career level explored – with women promoted significantly less and exiting significantly more than men at the top of organizations. There is a strong correlation between this lack of representation at decision-making/leadership levels and a lack of ability of the financial services sector to provide female customers with the financial products and services they need.

The Learning Journey: GBA’s Women in Leadership Working Group

Leveraging Mercer’s deep gender D&I expertise, the GBA’s new Working Group will tackle the key challenges financial institutions face to advance and retain women in leadership. Each Working Group participant will have the opportunity to fill out Mercer’s When Women Thrive survey, which asks them to provide information on their:

  • Policies, practices and culture
  • Operational context (e.g. industry and size)
  • Talent pipeline (high-level workforce data across five standard career levels)

Based on this information, each participating organization will receive an internal labor market map and workforce projections, which will show them where to focus in order to drive change.

The Working Group sessions will also dive into the key factors that can boost women’s leadership. Members will build tailored action plans that will enable their organizations to help women staff thrive and advance to the top. Critical areas covered will include fostering work-life balance, developing the female talent pipeline and role models, growing women’s confidence and aspirations, and mitigating male-dominated culture and unconscious bias. The final stage of the Working Group will prepare institutions to measure progress on their D&I efforts and build a sustainable path toward women’s equality within their organizations.

Expected Commitment and How to Join

GBA member institutions interested in participating in the Working Group are asked to nominate their Women’s Market program manager as well as the leader(s) who is responsible for talent management, leadership development and/or D&I to join. Having leaders of both internal and external gender strategies as Working Group participants will encourage collaboration and create the opportunity for synergy of efforts within the institution.

The Working Group will meet through monthly virtual webinar sessions that will take place from March 2019 through the end of the year. Members interested in participating should email Hilary.Nichols@gbaforwomen.orgto nominate participants and inquire about next steps.