Conversations are taking place across the globe regarding women in business, particularly on boardroom representation and the gender pay gap.
By April 4 2018 all companies in Great Britain with more than 250 employees were legally required to report their gender pay gap. The results from the first year of reporting show that the gap in median pay has narrowed just 0.4%, from 11.8% to 11.4%.The gender pay gap certainly isn't going to be fixed overnight.
As a business, equality is at the heart of what we do. We are proud of this and want to be a leader in this area.
It is important to talk about why women in business and organisational diversity is so important. There is a body of research that proves how diversity in the workplace has a positive impact on performance and decision-making, particularly when women are strongly represented at senior levels. For example, research by McKinsey & Company shows that there is a statistically significant correlation between a more diverse leadership team and financial outperformance (Delivering through Diversity, 2018).
Not forgetting, a diverse team can also boost innovation and increase creativity.
We have certainly felt these benefits at Appleby, by having both women and men represented at Partner-level. In the Isle of Man, a third of our Partners are women. There seems to be an outdated stereotype that law firms are dominated by men – the fact is, Appleby in its Isle of Man office has more women than men within the organisation – a gender split of 64:36 (as at February 2019). This statistic includes both our lawyers and business support colleagues.
What's important for me to stress though, is diversity goes deeper than gender, and that is something Appleby takes very seriously. When it comes to recruitment for example, it is about finding the right person for the job, regardless of gender, religion, race, disability or sexuality.
It is also about diversity of thought. In the fast-paced, increasingly complex world that we live and work in, having a team of people with different experiences, backgrounds, mind-sets and skillsets is imperative. As is allowing and creating an environment where people have equal opportunity to contribute and have a voice.
This isn't just essential at the leadership table, but across the entire organisation, especially for the next generation, and the generation after that. In a survey of more than 10,000 millennials (individuals born between 1980 and 1995), over 80% said that an employer's policy on diversity, equality and workforce inclusion is an important factor when deciding whether or not to work for them (PwC Millennial Survey 2015). I want to encourage a culture whereby employees feel empowered and inspired to contribute and advance.
Something that I personally feel strongly about is offering employees flexible working. Flexible working not only benefits employees by forming a better work-life balance, it can also benefit the firm, having a positive impact on organisational culture. Appleby have been testing a new flexi-time and working from home policy in its Isle of Man office; 74% of our people have taken advantage of the flexible working trial to date.
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is an important topic and one that we will continue to discuss for many years to come. To me, what's clear is that successful businesses need to put diversity at the heart of their employee strategy, and Appleby will continue to lead the way in all areas of equality and inclusion.
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