Brickendon's senior management to be 50% female by end of 2021

11 October 2017

Transformational management consultancy Brickendon has pledged that half of its senior management will be female by the end of 2021. The goal cements the firm’s vision that women have an important part to play in the future of the financial services industry.

Following years of sustained pressure, working toward gender parity in the workplace has increasingly become a priority for businesses around the world. Following the annual release of their salary information, the BBC exemplified this, coming in for substantial criticism for its own sizable disparity, which saw top male staffer Chris Evans earn a huge £2 million per year, compared to top female earner Claudia Winkelman, who picked up a much smaller £500,000 cheque. The BBC had previously committed to ending its gender pay gap by 2020. However, following the publication of salary information, 40 women working at the BBC penned an open letter to Director General Tony Hall, criticising the fact that “women at the BBC are being paid less than men for the same work,” and calling for immediate and transparent action.

Brickendon's senior management to be 50% female by end of 2019PwC report earlier in the year contended that female workers were paid as much as 17% less than male counterparts, costing women in the UK a total of £85 billion per year in lost wages. As businesses look increasingly to oblige calls for parity, the consulting industry is likewise taking steps to demonstrate its own egalitarian credentials, as firms vie for contracts advising clients on how to improve their own practices. Therefore, a number of major consultancies have released their pay data in order to transparently show their efforts to address a wage gap, while a number of firms have also joined Club 30%, an organisation aimed at bringing female board representation in the UK, and the US, up to 30%.

Now, London-headquartered Brickendon Consulting have gone a step further, pledging to deliver a 50% female representation among the company’s senior management. The goal was accompanied by a number of other assurances, including a vow that the firm will have at least one female non-executive director on its board by the end of 2021, alongside the provision of support and mentoring for at least one woman to strive higher and take on a more senior position. The consultancy confirmed that it will publish its progress against the targets annually.

The emergent management and technology consultancy were among four professional service firms to sign the Women in Finance Charter back in July, alongside Mercer and Big Four firms EY and PwC. Speaking at the time, Brickendon CEO Christopher Burke said, “We are proud and delighted to align ourselves with this initiative and to publicly state our commitment to a diverse and inclusive environment for all our employees… I have said on many occasions that we are in no doubt that failing to take advantage of the skills of highly-qualified women constitutes a waste of talent and a loss of economic growth potential.”

The London and New York-based firm, which is seeking to increase the number of women in all roles and at all levels of the organisation, joined more than 140 financial institutions in signing the charter earlier this year, in an effort to demonstrate their commitment to building a balanced and fair industry. It is widely acknowledged that a diverse workforce is more productive and successful, and Brickendon has found that providing a flexible working culture for its people increases productivity, well-being, and aids with the attraction and retention of talent across the board. Various studies now highlight a business case for improved gender diversity, while for the market as a whole, change in this regard could see $12 trillion added to the global economy.

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Women remain underrepresented in UK's hospitality industry leadership

12 April 2019

Female engagement at the top level of the UK hospitality industry is still lagging, with the vast majority of decision-making roles continue to be held by men. Only 7% of the industry’s FTSE 350 CEOs are women; however, the pay gap in hospitality and leisure is far better than in other industries, at a median of approximately 7%.

The hospitality, travel and leisure (HTL) sector is one of the UK’s largest employers, with 3.2 million people working in its segments. Despite a poor 2018 in terms of tightening consumer spending, the industry is still one of the top sectors in terms of economic activity, hitting £130 billion last year – besting the UK’s automotive, pharmaceutical and aeronautical sectors’ combined activities.

While the industry is one of the country’s largest employers, it still faces considerable issues around diversity at the top. New analysis from PwC has explored the matter, as well what initiatives the industry has engaged to open up its top ranks to a more diverse background.

Female representation at board level for UK companies and HTLs

According to a survey of CEOs, Chairs or HR Directors of over 100 of the most significant leisure businesses across the UK, the hospitality industry has a relatively male-dominated top level. This lags behind the FTSE 100, where companies have female board level representation at 32.2%. Meanwhile, the figure for the combined executive committee and direct reports stands at 28%. This is well above FTSE 250 levels, where female board level representation stands at 22.4% and executive committee & direct reports stand at 27.8%.

For the hospitality industry as a whole, board level representation came in at 23.6%, with FTSE 350 for the industry performing slightly better at 25.1%, while non-listed companies performed considerably worse at 18.2%. The firm notes that the figures hide that while some companies are making strides to improve equality, others are not moving forward – with the positive result reflecting more often the good work of some, while others are not taking the issue seriously in their agenda setting.

Blind spot

The study states, however, that while the overall numbers are relatively strong, the industry has a number of acute weaknesses. These include CEO numbers, with only 7% of HTL FTSE 350 companies helmed by women and 11% of non-listed companies led by female CEOs. Meanwhile, female chairs at FTSE 350 companies for the sector stand at zero. In terms of wider diversity representation, only 1 in 33 leaders at industry companies is from a BAME background.

Pay gap for HTL and hospitality

The report noted discrepancies between FTSE 100 companies and FTSE 250 in terms of improving the number of women at executive level. The majority have met the Hampton-Alexander Review target of 33% women at board level, up from around 25% in 2016. However, the remaining ~40% are not on target, and are unlikely to meet the target by 2020. A similar trend is noted when it comes to executive committee and direct reporting numbers.

Jon Terry, Diversity & Inclusion Consulting Leader at PwC, said, "To make real progress in diversity and inclusion, businesses need to elevate it onto the CEO’s agenda and align diversity & inclusion strategy to the fundamentals of the business."

Tracking progress FTSE 250 level

However, one area where hospitality travel and leisure companies are outperforming other companies in the wider UK economy, is the mean and median pay gap between men and women. PwC found that the median of the wider UK economy comes is approximately 14% – with upper quartile companies noted for a gap of low 20%, and lower quartile companies noted for differences of around 2%.

The median pay gap for HTL comes in at well below 7%, with the median close to parity. There are considerable differences, however, with hospitality at 7%, while travel comes in considerably higher, at 22%. The latter figure reflects fewer women in higher paid pilot and technical positions within the industry.