Monday 21 January 2019

Central Bank remains 'concerned' by lack of diversity at senior level

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Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

The Central Bank has said that it "remains concerned" by the continued evidence of a lack of diversity at senior level in regulated firms.

In an analysis of applications for regulatory approval for senior financial roles, the Central Bank found that there continues to be a pronounced gender imbalance at board level and in revenue generating roles.

At the board level, there were small increases in the number of female applicants for the most senior roles compared with previous years, but imbalances remain "a cause for serious concern", the Central Bank said.

"I welcome that there were increases in gender diversity in the applications for senior roles in some financial services sectors in 2017," Ed Sibley, Deputy Governor, Prudential Regulation, said.

"However, this was from very low levels and major imbalances remain. Much more needs to be done."

Last year, 18pc of applicants for executive director roles were female, compared with 15pc in 2016.

For board chairperson roles, 14pc of applicants last year were female, an increase of just 2pc on 2016, while 16pc of applicants for chief executive roles were female, a slight increase on 2016 figures.

Meanwhile in the areas of banking, credit union and asset management sectors there have been increases of between just 5 and 6pc in the proportion of women being offered senior level roles in 2017.

In addition, the report of over 3,600 applicants received in 2017, found there was a dis-improvement in the securities and market sector, which in 2017 was the largest sector by number of applicants. Overall the portion of female applicants in this sector was just 19pc, compared with 35pc of female applicants in the credit union sector.

"There is strong evidence that diversity, in all its forms, can mitigate the risk of groupthink, improve decision-making, increase the effectiveness of internal challenge and enhance the culture within firms," Mr Sibley said.

Age profile

The report, which breaks down the applications for regulatory approval by gender, age and country of origin, found that two out of three applications submitted in 2017 were from applicants in the 35-54 age range, while almost 40pc of the applications came from people in the 45-54 age group.

In terms of country of origin of applicants, three in four applications for regulatory approval for senior roles came from people born in Ireland or the UK (58pc Ireland and 18pc UK).

Going forwards the Central Bank said it would continue to prioritise driving meaningful change in the levels of diversity at senior levels in regulated financial services firms.

Female Entrepreneurs

Meanwhile a study by Mastercard has found that women make up just one fifth of all of Ireland’s entrepreneurs.

Ahead of International Women's Day, the study showed that a lack of self-belief can be especially potent in deterring women from starting their own businesses.

Overall Ireland placed 25th on Mastercard’s Index of Women Entrepreneurs, which tracks the progress and achievement of women entrepreneurs and business owners across 57 markets spanning five geographic regions – Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, and North America.

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