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Media Release: Diversity in finance sector

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MEDIA RELEASE

4 July 2023

Report identifies path to achieve gender diversity in the finance sector

A major report released today shows that while the finance sector continues to lack gender balance in senior management, there are opportunities available to address the issue.

The report, ‘Women in Finance, Beyond the Numbers’ was commissioned by the Group of 100, the industry association and advocacy body representing Chief Financial Officers and senior finance executives. Chair of the Group of 100, Martyn Roberts, said the report shows a pressing need to improve gender diversity in the finance sector, particularly in senior leadership ranks.

“With only 27% of ASX100 Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) being women, in a sector where a large proportion of the graduate workforce is female, the Group of 100 recognises the imperative to foster a more inclusive and diverse finance sector. This report identifies strategies to help make the change,” Mr Roberts said.

Issues of diversity traditionally sit with human resources departments; however the report, carried out by The 100% Project for the G100, makes it clear gender diversity is a business- wide issue with the data collected showing finance departments must work harder in this area.

“It is worth noting that many respondents were not aware of issues such as the impact of unconscious bias, particularly with gender. The data shows that organisations that understand gender balance are better and happier places to work,” he said.

“The findings in this report highlight the steps needed to address gender disparity and create a more level playing field. The Group of 100 wants to start the conversation and really push through change. I am confident that the research will give us the opportunity to keep this issue at the forefront of leadership teams. We see too many young women start in the finance sector only to leave before reaching senior management roles. We encourage all organisations in the finance sector to join us on this critical mission,” Mr Roberts said.

The 100% Project is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to address gender inequality affecting leadership positions. It points out that research over many years shows that gender balanced workplaces increase collective intelligence, decrease the risks of groupthink, and increase collaboration producing a more positive corporate culture.

The ‘Women in Finance, Beyond the Numbers’ report highlighted three areas where interviewees felt CFOs had a strong role to play in gender Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). These were:

  1. Quantify the Business Case: convey the evidence and channel finance’s data capability to quantify value;
  2. Ultimate Accountability: build and grow the talent and succession pipeline, starting with the direct reports; and
  3. Role Model as a Leader: demonstrating leadership, shared accountability, transparency, behaviours, commitment, and belief.

While the above three areas were strongly echoed in the survey responses, people in finance teams also highlighted the unique demands of finance roles, which require the attention of the CFOs, such as the fact that many of these roles often have overtime requirements.

The data collected allowed The 100% Project to identify six critical success factors that underpin the success of gender DEI initiatives. Within each success factor there are elements to be followed in each, consistent with best practice literature, and these are particularly pertinent to the finance sector. These six factors are:

  1. Tapping into the why – awareness, recognition and responsibility for bias;
  2. Pivotal leadership – stewarding change with commitment and capability;
  3. Evidencing gender DEI – using meaningful measure, targets and data to rewire the system;
  4. Promoting a pipeline – internal and external factors influencing talent management;
  5. Creating the ecosystem for change – broad implementation, local fit; and
  6. Maintaining momentum – sustained time, effort and resources for gender DEI. Ends

For further information:

Stephen Woodhill CEO, Group of 100 – [email protected]

The Group of 100

The Group of 100 (G100) is the industry association and advocacy body representing Australia’s Chief Financial Officers and senior finance executives. It has three focus areas: building a vibrant CFO network; shaping business outcomes and fostering the CFOs of tomorrow. The G100 works to ensure that Australia’s commercial and regulatory environment is one which advances the interests of Australian business, and which encourages private and public enterprises to grow and compete in today’s highly competitive environment.

Traditionally, the G100 has conducted research to improve in areas including capital markets, financial management, and taxation, amongst other key business topics. This research was initiated and led within the G100 by the Diversity and Inclusion Board subcommittee who believe the topic of gender equity has to potential to benefit both individuals and organisations. Learn more about The Group of 100 at our website: www.woocommerce-1098251-3847446.cloudwaysapps.com

The 100% Project

The 100% Project is a professional, not-for-profit organisation that specialises in research and advocacy for corporate diversity and inclusion. Our vision is to achieve 100% gender balanced leadership in Australia, contributing to our social and economic future. The 100% Project conducts research across Australia with our industry partners, through which we challenge mindsets and inform organisational practices to fully realise the leadership potential of all genders. Our recently published ‘Breaking Dad’ research examines the role of psychological safety in men’s ability to access parental leave, highlighting the ongoing barriers that stigma can be in this space. In addition to our published research, The 100% Project has also recorded several podcast series examining issues related to gender DEI. Our most recent series focussed on achieving gender equity in the construction industry. Learn more about The 100% Project at our website: www.the100percentproject.com.au

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