On International Women’s Day 2023 the focus is #EmbraceEquity, reminding us of the need to ensure that we’re all able to access the tools we need to be successful. And it’s important to remember that this might be different for each of us. Kellie Plummer, our Head of People, explores how we’re promoting equity across our team, and our communities.
International Women’s Day always gives us the opportunity to revisit our own corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments. For a number of years we’ve focused on promoting diversity and equality in our business, and in our sector, but the theme of equity allows us to evolve this even further.
Promoting equity at The Fry Group
All women working at The Fry Group are encouraged as individuals and can always expect to enjoy a diverse, inclusive and open environment. The benefits of a smaller firm means we offer a family feel where we know each and every member of the team, and this personal approach aims to ensure that every woman working here can access what she needs to be successful. Whilst we appreciate that the financial sector has traditionally been highly male dominated, we’re working to challenge that stereotype. Our commitment to the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter, which we signed up to in 2021, aims to improve gender balance at all levels across financial services firms.
We have an active programme to ensure women hold management roles; currently 25% of our senior leadership team is female, and we have targets in place to raise this. The way in which we work is supporting this approach with a strong continuing professional development (CPD) ethos, and agile working, family-friendly and extended maternity and paternity policies now an intrinsic part of our benefits package.
We also ensure women are given equal opportunities to further their careers through advanced learning to gain qualifications relevant to their role, and we actively support them with entry fees and professional memberships. Recently Josie Fryers, Assistant Tax Manager passed her CIOT Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) exams, one of the most prestigious qualifications in professional tax advice – a mark of technical excellence and integrity.
Listening and learning
One of our initiatives is the creation of a shadow board. This team supports and challenges our senior leadership team on key aspects of the business. It currently consists of seven individuals, including four women, from across our offices. The shadow board also help with all aspects of our CSR approach, including equality, equity and diversity.
Reaching into the community
As well as across our own team we are actively working to create a more equitable platform for women in the communities in which we work. Women typically experience a range of financial obstacles, including the gender pay gap and the gender pension gap, which can harm career and retirement plans, and impact the opportunity to enjoy financial freedom. We aim to inform and help our female clients in how to manage their own finances and negotiate career breaks, whilst prioritising their savings, investments and pensions.
As part of our wider work, we are creating positive change across societies for women. In helping improve financial literacy we’re aiming to reduce the risk of women experiencing debt and financial exploitation. Our work with Enrich, a charity in Hong Kong, helps empower female domestic workers with the tools to overcome financial difficulties, providing skills that enable them to take control of their finances and achieve their goals and dreams.
Making a difference takes many steps and needs collective wisdom, empathy and, importantly, patience. Together though, we commit to continuously adapt and refine our efforts to strive for equity.
For information on career opportunities at The Fry Group, please visit our website.