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ICAEW’s target to improve management gender diversity

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 more balanced and fair industry. Firms 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 covering 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 understand the value to decision making and innovation that diversity brings. To deliver against our 10-year strategy, we must attract and retain the very brightest and remove barriers to equity and equality. We are a supporter of gender diversity across all parts of our organisation, and we have progressed significantly against our targets on gender diversity for senior roles over the past five years.

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 2022, women now hold 55.3% of our most senior roles. This is compared to 33.3% female representation when we began our journey in 2017.

We will review our targets to reflect the wider ICAEW population statistics to ensure fairness. Systemically, we will support our female junior talent as part of succession planning and develop policy and approach to ensure the impact of women’s health issues is minimised on their mid-stage careers. We ensure our managers are trained and accountable for identifying and supporting talent, regardless of gender.

We are pleased to have made progress, but we are not complacent. We understand that to drive progress we must adapt the ways that we work to meet a modern society, changed irreversibly by the extra pressures placed on women by the COVID-19 pandemic.

ICAEW’s work to support gender diversity

We support our female staff to reach their full potential by providing leadership training and one-to-one coaching to address specific and identified developmental needs. We take steps to ensure flexible working is culturally accepted and encouraged across the organisation. We also guarantee that there is always at least one senior woman on all senior management interview panels.

In 2006, we launched the Women in Finance Network to provide a venue for 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 showcases keynote speakers.

In 2011, we created the Women in Leadership training programme dedicated to support women aiming for senior management, partner or board roles. The programme has been designed to empower women to find a style of leadership that is already within them, and bring it powerfully to the fore, to help their organisation prosper.

Each year we are proud to award a place on this six-month course to the winner of the Future Leaders Award at the Women in the City Awards.