“We have such strong female talent here”

08 March 2018 

Barclays has improved its rating in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index 2018 for the third year running, reflecting its commitment to recruiting, retaining and promoting women across the bank. On International Women’s Day, we find out what women colleagues have to say about the working for Barclays.

It will come as no surprise to Carol Morris that Barclays has improved its rating in one of the business world’s key benchmarks for the treatment of women employees. Selected as one of the 104 companies in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI) for the third year running, the bank increased its GEI score from 87% last year to 90% this year.

Morris, a Cloud Business Engagement Lead for the bank – who won a WeAreTheCity TechWomen50 award last year – says Barclays does all it can to support colleagues to achieve their potential. “I’ve met so many strong and successful women in my time at Barclays – it’s a deep pool plus we have plenty of supportive mentors and managers.”

Her fellow award winner Kamila Piorowska, an Agile Coach at Barclays, agrees that the bank “supports and promotes women in technology”. She adds: “I used to work for other places and I was sometimes the only woman on the floor. Here at Barclays I am learning from female leaders and their incredible strength motivates me to inspire ladies to join the technology team. Barclays also promotes internal move and role changes which helps female colleagues to move into technology.”

Sharon Jones tells a similar story. Now working as a Technician at the bank’s Eagle Lab in Bournemouth, the former primary school teacher originally joined Barclays to do advocacy work around PPI. “I found that the company was incredible,” she says. “It was the opportunities I had that were amazing. I was encouraged to volunteer and given time to do that, and it was through learning to code that I got into this role.”

She continues: “Barclays is very good at recognising things you do that are above and beyond your day job. What I’ve found is if you put yourself out a bit they are very supportive. If you see something that can be done differently or better they will help you to develop it. For me coming from the public sector that was really refreshing and eye-opening.”

Sharon – who is hosting an International Women’s Day event to inspire the next generation of engineers – adds: “I recognise how lucky I am to work within an organisation that promotes based on skills and qualities, and recognises the additional experience flexible working can bring to a business.”

Supportive networks

Barclays has a number of initiatives and networks for women in the bank and beyond. With a membership of 5,000, the global Win gender network helps the bank attract, retain and maximize the talent of women, while the Women In Leadership Forum, run across four locations internationally, is focused on the development of senior women at managing director and director level. Senior women are also supported through the Encore ‘returnship’ scheme, which help those who return to work after a long career break.

Citing the Win gender network – which she joined when she started in her role at the Investment Bank – Sonal Shah, PMO Manager, says one of the bank’s strengths lies in its recognition of the importance of networks for women.

“The bank encourages diversity and this is one of the qualities I really appreciate about working here,” she says. “They are open to new ideas and supportive in what you want to do. I’ve found a great, supportive professional network through WiN. I’m happy to give back, share and work with some really amazing and successful women.”

Snehal Malhotra, AVP – Identity and Access Management, agrees: “There are so many training sessions held for women to help them progress and get into leadership roles. Barclays also encourages work-life balance, hires and promotes women and gives them equality of opportunity.”

In 2015, Barclays became a founding member of the United Nations (UN) campaign for women, HeForShe, signing up to three bold commitments: to increase representation of women in senior leadership; to embed gender equality in culture, processes and policies; and to reach out to 2.5million women around the world through financial inclusion programmes.

The bank is also a signatory to the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter, which commits financial services firms to linking the remuneration packages of their executive teams to gender diversity targets.

Commenting on the bank’s commitment to gender equality, Barclays CEO Jes Staley said: “As a leader, husband and father, I believe that enabling true gender equality is a responsibility we all share. At Barclays, our partnership with the UN and support for HeforShe are indicative of the strength of our commitment to ensuring women can contribute fully to society, to industry and global economies.”

Gemma Trebble, UX Design Principal, says Barclays “supports and champions diversity”. “As a female who is passionate about growing my career in technology, I have found Barclays to be a place where I am recognised and rewarded for my contribution,” she says.

“We still have a way to go to address the gender balance, but those women who I do work with at Barclays are all very determined, focused and driven. We have such strong female talent here.”

These sentiments would have been recognised by Hilda Harding, who became the first female bank manager in Britain when she was appointed at Barclays’ Hanover Street branch in London in May 1958.

Asked by a journalist whether there would be more female bank managers – or, as the Glasgow Herald defined them, “managerettes” – in the future, Harding replied: “There is no reason why not. Barclays like to encourage young women just as much as the boys.”