Ensuring gender diversity in global mobility

Julie Coates shares some of the insights from her presentation at the 4th Women in Banking and Financial Services Summit and why she believes it is important to create gender diversity in global mobility amongst an organisation’s employees.

I’ve recently become an Executive Board member at PwC, which marks quite a career milestone: having worked at PwC for 27 years in 5 different offices in 3 countries across every industry and line of service.

As a woman, there is often some stigma attached with both accepting and being able to undertake global opportunities. Thankfully, gender disparities are changing, slowly but surely, giving women many more opportunities to seek challenging and diverse career paths. Here are my top tips for women in financial services:

  1. Be brave and ask for what you want – don’t wait to get tapped on the shoulder
  2. Trying new things and being confident in your own ability will be an important part of your success
  3. Find mentors and ask for help
  4. Build resilience
  5. It’s okay to be vocal about what it’s like to be female
  6. We need to stand up for others – promote them and prioritise them
  7. Don’t shy away from opportunities

"Thankfully, gender disparities are changing, slowly but surely, giving women many more opportunities to seek challenging and diverse career paths."

There has never been a better time to be a female working in Financial Services, but there is still significant opportunity to align the need for greater international mobility with gender diversity.

Female demand for global mobility is at an all-time high. 77% of women working in Financial Services say that the opportunity to complete an international experience is a key factor in remaining with an employer. Yet, women make up just 20% of the internationally mobile population across all sectors.

PwC research show the reasons for the discrepancy can be attributed to a lack of organisation’s understanding of their ‘mobile-ready’ population, a lack of female role models for whom a global mobility experience has been part of their career success and stereotypes associating women with family.

"CEO’s are increasingly identifying the benefits from diversity and inclusion in their workplaces, including greater ability to attract talent, enhanced business performance and innovation."

There are four key priorities to increase the ratio of women filling international assignments:

Promote mobility as part of your talent brand. Employers that provide opportunities to gain international experience will have an advantage when competing for female talent.

Challenge biases and stereotypes. A strategically driven process for identifying mobility needs and matching this with the most suitable talent would help to ensure that the right people are assigned to the right positions.

Break down silos. It’s critical that the tone is set from the top when converging international mobility and diversity into a common set of objectives, policies and performance metrics. PwC Australia CEO, Luke Sayers says, “I consider advancing the diversity and inclusion agenda of corporate Australia as one of my biggest priorities. I also believe it is one of our country’s biggest priorities."

Broaden options to increase take-up. As the workforce becomes more agile, greater variety in the duration of global mobility programmes will be better positioned to attract, retain and deploy a diverse range of talent.

Talent diversity is now widely acknowledged as both a business challenge and an opportunity. CEO’s are increasingly identifying the benefits from diversity and inclusion in their workplaces, including greater ability to attract talent, enhanced business performance and innovation. At PwC we’ve put diversity and inclusion at the centre of our strategy - one that allows us to realise and discover our potential to create value for our business, clients and society.

For me, working internationally was a very positive experience; it gave me a global perspective, allowing me to think bigger and to broaden my networks. It was a fantastic family experience, providing my children with travel, international friends and the ability to build resilience.  

 

Julie is the National Managing Partner of PwC Australia’s Priority Clients and Segments Practice and a member of PwC Australia’s executive board. She is also the financial Services Industry leader and a member of the global Financial Services extended leadership team.  

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