Our Gender Balance Affinity Group works to make sure we have gender balance in everything we do that impacts our workforce. Their work is in line with our overall vision for gender equality, and is at the heart of how we make sure that everyone feels able to thrive at work, whatever their background, identity or circumstance.
The Gender Balance Affinity Group helps us to do this by providing:
- A guiding light for the business as we commit to having a culture of support, safety and acceptance regardless of gender identity.
- Help with identifying where we need to improve, when structural and cultural changes are impacting on that commitment.
- Support for our business as we develop and implement a gender balance framework. Through mentoring and career development, data analysis and support groups, this framework ensures that everyone is treated according to their needs.
- Support and collaboration with our other affinity groups so that we make sure we always consider any other individual characteristics that overlap with gender.
Sue Taylor (Her/She)
“I’m really proud to be a co-lead of the Gender Balance Group. I’ve worked full-time in financial services for the last 35 years while raising two children and studying at night for my Masters in Law at that time. I’ve experienced a lot of gender bias and I want to ensure that others don’t experience the same. By becoming actively involved in the working group I can influence the ‘improvement movement’ by driving change and raising awareness.”
Jayne Pearce (Her/She)
"I put myself forward to co-lead the Gender Balance Affinity Group for two reasons; firstly because of gender bias I have personally experienced in my own career. And secondly to try and drive a more balanced management space within PFG when it comes to Gender, supporting women in more senior roles and encouraging men to apply for what historically has been seen as more feminine roles. Its been proven that more balanced, inclusive teams drive not only better more balanced conversations, but ideas and actions also. We have a long way to go, but the first step is talking.. so let's talk!"
The Affinity Group’s priorities
To achieve their purpose, the Affinity Group focus on four key objectives. These are:
- Gender data: Understanding what gender data we currently have, looking trends and gaps across areas such as leadership, specialism or pay, and suggesting targeted actions.
- Equal opportunity: Creating a workplace where everyone has an equal opportunity, regardless of gender. Looking at everything from HR policies to our recruitment process.
- Culture and awareness: Creating a community here that has a culture of support, safety and acceptance, regardless of gender. Providing training and awareness, PFG Peer Circles for support and discussion, and supporting our broader Inclusion and Diversity agenda.
- Communication: Making sure we have clear, consistent and timely communications around gender balance, by creating comms plans and sharing the latest news and content in this area. This might be celebrating national gender-based holidays, or simply supporting other inclusion groups at key points through the year.
What has the Affinity Group achieved so far?
PFG Peer Circles
The Affinity Group has recently successfully launched PFG Peer Circles. The aim of these groups is to contribute to creating a culture of open discussion and support within our business.
Our Affinity Group members within Vanquis now have an online training module on Equality, Diversity & Inclusion. Training for our people managers on creating an inclusive team environment is also being considered.
Each year, the Gender Balance Affinity Group celebrates International Men’s Day and Movember in November as well as International Women’s Day in March, among other key days. The Group is also planning awareness campaigns around menopause, parental leave and maternity returners.
A key part of a broader programme of change
The Gender Balance Affinity Group’s efforts are also part of a broader programme of work that focuses on improving gender diversity across PFG, at all levels. This work includes:
Be Yourself: Improving gender diversity at PFG
Achieving a better gender balance in our senior management population is a key focus. In 2019 we signed up to HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter, and challenged ourselves to have 40% female representation in the Group’s senior management population by December 2024. As at 31 December 2020, we had a 27% female representation in senior management.
We’ve made good progress in this area, by:
- Restructuring of our Group Executive and creating a talent pipeline into this population.
- Reviewing and updating our HR policies and processes so that we’re consistently supporting gender diversity.
- Delivering the Next Generation Women’s Leadership Programme to 21 high potential women from across Provident Financial Group. Of these, 24% have gained promotion.
- Reviewing how we recruit externally, so that we always have a 50/50 gender balance in our shortlists for all Senior Leadership vacancies.
Gender pay gap reporting update
We regularly use our Corporate Responsibility reports to disclose our gender pay gap reporting figures, covering all colleagues that are employed across PFG.