What we’re doing to change things

Business culture will change only through action, not just words or good intentions.

Spanning our efforts to nurture female talent from “schoolroom to boardroom”, the 30% Club runs a number of very specific and targeted intitiatives that look to broaden the pipeline of women at all levels:

We are in the process of setting up a referral portal for potential NEDs and Executive Directors; this will be made up of high potential women who are currently “under the radar” and who have been recommended by Sponsors. This online portal will be searchable and will incorporate filter functionality.

We are also developing a database of female leaders in business, finance and the not-for-profit sectors who are available for media comment on topics of the day, as well as ‘women’s issues’. The database will connect journalists to these spokespeople via our online database and the aim to is raise female profiles and visibility within the media and beyond.

We run a cross-company mentoring scheme aimed at mid-career women who have been identified as high potential but may be in danger of not making the next step up to senior level.

We partner with Henley, Oxford SAÏD and London Business Schools to offer 3 fully-funded 30% Club scholarships on Executive MBA courses. This scholarship programme is aimed at women in leadership positions with C-Suite potential and is part of a growing 30% Club initiative to increase the progression of women to senior executive positions by encouraging more females to undertake academic professional development. Current research indicates a much higher proportion of men participate in business school-led programmes; the 30% Club aims to address this imbalance.

We run a Career Strategy initiative aimed at providing practical workshops to early-career women, helping them to tackle topics that are often difficult to raise in the workplace (career advancement, maternity issues, flexible working, negotiating pay rises, etc.)

We have recently set up a University Group to look at improving gender balance in faculties, as well as analysing and acting to improve the experiences of female students.
In January 2015 we will be piloting a student survey at Cambridge University that aims drill down on student ambitions/drivers and to establish whether women’s experiences at university affect their motivation and ability to get ahead. The survey will be rolled out to other universities later in 2015.

The 30% Club is collaborating with Speakers for Schools, an independent charity that aims to help state secondary schools access high profile industry leading figures to give talks. To mark the start of this long-term partnership we will be running a special fortnight in January 2015 during which speakers will deliver a series of talks on the theme of “equality across the board”. The aim of this initiative is to encourage girls to see their potential in leadership positions, to encourage them to aspire to reach their full potential and to increase their confidence as look to enter the work place.

More broadly the 30% Club is also working to bring about real transformation by:

  • Encouraging and supporting chairmen to appoint more women to their boards.
  • Providing information and help for businesses trying to improve their diversity at all levels. There are two ‘pipeline’ groups within the 30% Club, aimed at sharing innovations that work and devising new collaborative actions. These two groups are the ‘Professional Services Firms Pipeline Group’ and the ‘Balancing the Pyramid Project Group’, aimed at corporates.
  • Working with other related groups such as the Professional Boards Forum, the Women’s Business Council and the Mentoring Foundation. We believe that collective, concerted effort can achieve much more than individual initiatives and are ‘open source’ in our approach. We are driven by our objective, rather than by any ‘ownership’ of the issue.
  • Keeping the spotlight on the issue through our ongoing role in the public debate, on TV and radio and through social media. Focused activities aimed at influencing policy-makers through, for example, consultation responses, providing oral evidence to select committees and close alignment with the Davies Committee.
  • Staging large-scale events (free of charge to attendees) to develop momentum and to evolve thinking around the issue (‘Action Beyond Words’, Cass Business School, July 2011; Investors’ Seminar, February 2012; launch of Cranfield research (instigated by Equality and Human Rights Commission) into Executive Search firms’ role in May 2012; ‘Transforming Business Culture’ seminar at the London Stock Exchange, November 2012; Professional Services Firms Pipeline Project outcomes at Linklaters, December 2012; ‘Accelerator Steps towards Developing Female Talent’, Bloomberg, April 2013;  ‘Creating Effective Boards Seminar’, October 2014).
  • Ongoing focused activity around a number of areas: Investors’ Group (comprising 23 leading institutional investment firms with assets under management totalling c. £6trn); Professional Services Firms’ Pipeline Group; Balancing the Pyramid (pipeline effort with corporates); International Development; Events; and Social Media. Currently establishing two new groups focused on the Public Sector and Sports/Culture.
  • Providing strategic advice to groups overseas.
  • Speaking at schools, universities and international women’s events.
  • Tracking progress towards the 30% target.

A Steering Committee oversees the overall development of the 30% Club. A group of five senior chairmen form an Advisory Group to provide advice and help recruit other chairmen.