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Continuous robust female representation in ICAEW’s senior roles

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) is a signatory to HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter, which commits organisations to build a fairer and more balanced industry. Organisations that sign up to the Charter pledge to support the progression of women into senior roles in the financial services sector.

HM Treasury's Women in Finance CharterThe Women in Finance Charter

More than 400 organisations including banks, insurance companies, investment firms and accountancy practices have signed up to The Charter since its launch in 2016.

Signatories commit to supporting the progression of women into senior roles in the financial services sector by focusing on the executive pipeline and the mid-tier level; to set targets in line with this aim and to publicly report their progress in meeting those targets.

ICAEW’s targets

ICAEW understands the value of diversity to decision-making and innovation. To deliver against our 10-year strategy, we must attract and retain the very brightest talent and remove barriers to equity and equality. We support gender diversity across all parts of our organisation, and have progressed significantly against our targets on gender diversity for senior roles since signing the Charter.

In 2017 we became signatories to the Women in Finance Charter and committed to 40% of our senior management being women by March 2020.

We exceeded this target in 2019 and in 2023 women hold 54.6% of our senior roles. This is compared to 33.3% female representation when we began our journey in 2017. We review our targets annually, considering representation among the wider ICAEW workforce.

Continued support

We continue to support our female junior talent as part of succession planning, by offering a broad range of training, coaching, and mentoring opportunities. We also ensure our managers are trained and accountable for identifying and nurturing talent.

Furthermore, we continue to build an ever-more inclusive organisational culture where employees can thrive irrespective of their background or characteristics. We run several employee resource groups which raise awareness of and push for progress on specific topics, for example, challenges during the menopause and other women’s health issues.

Finally, we continuously advance our policies in line with our employees’ needs. This includes new policies to ensure the impact of women’s health issues are minimised at mid-career stage, and flexible working regulations that enable employees to combine work and family responsibilities more easily.

The activities listed below seek to increase gender diversity at senior levels and further narrow our Gender Pay Gap, which has decreased for the past two years.

ICAEW’s gender diversity initiatives

In 2006, we launched the Women in Finance Network to provide a platform or women across the sector to share their experiences and to support members with personal development. Each year ICAEW hosts events that bring the network together and showcase keynote speakers, and annually celebrates the contributions of women to the sector on International Women’s Day.

In 2011, we created the Women in Leadership training programme to support women aiming for senior management, partner or board roles. The programme is designed to empower women to harness style of leadership that is already within them, and bring it powerfully to the fore, to help their organisations prosper. While mainly targeted at members, we reserve a few spots for female employees in leadership roles.

Additionally, our ASPIRE programme aims to support talented employees manager, senior manager and head-of level, and will resume in 2024. The programme takes place during a week-long residential stay and covers a range of relevant leadership skills , followed up by coaching. We monitor the promotion and progression of programme graduates.

We are also about to launch in October 2023 a new programme – “Elevate” – for directors which includes a two-day offsite workshop on inclusive leadership. The course will run over multiple weeks and cover a variety of topics such as chairing meetings, stakeholder engagement, credibility and impact, and strategic planning.