What We’re Doing to Change Things

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

The 30% Club runs a number of very specific and targeted initiatives that look to broaden the pipeline of women at all levels, from “schoolroom to boardroom”:

We are 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.

As part of The 30% Club ‘Balancing the Pyramid’ initiative which aims to encourage and increase the female gender balance at all organizational levels, we are establishing partnerships with a number of business schools globally to lower this barrier by offering Women’s Scholarships.

Although each scholarship is designed individually with the particular business school, the 30% Club Scholarships are generally awarded to women who can demonstrate both depth and breadth of work experience as well as academic excellence and high potential for senior leadership roles. They must also show determination to act as role models for other women.

Through these partnerships we seek to build a continuum of change from schoolroom to boardroom, helping women to make the decision to undertake further education, supporting them through the application process, providing them with a mentor during the programme and highlighting the successes and high return on investment afterwards.

We currently partner with Henley, Oxford SAÏD, London Business School, Imperial College and the Irish Management Institute to offer 4 fully-funded and 3 part-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.

The Career Strategy group was set up in 2014 to focus exclusively on the ‘early-to-mid-career’ stage of a woman’s career. An initial pilot ran from October to December 2014 focusing on different approaches to career building, and that pilot is now being extended to a programme of 4 further workshops, which will run throughout 2015. Each workshop will focus on one of the following topics:

CV writing – a practical, hands-on session covering how to clearly and concisely ‘sell yourself’. (April 2015)
Leveraging your network – how to build and leverage your network to create career opportunities. (June 2015)
Time management – how to effectively manage your time both inside and outside work. (September 2015)
Career ‘Pitstops’ – how to have the right conversations, at the right time, in the right way. (December 2015)

These topics were the conclusions of research conducted by the 30% Club into the ‘white space’ around existing women’s initiatives – areas where women felt they could benefit from additional training and guidance, but needed a neutral forum away from the workplace. Reflecting this, these are also topics that businesses may find it harder to tackle internally given their sensitive nature.

These workshops are intended to be very practical, open and interactive, equipping women with the tips and tools to take more control of their careers during the tricky ‘early-to-mid career’ stage.

Who can attend?
The workshops are open to companies whose Chairman is involved in the 30% Club. Each of these companies is eligible to nominate 3 ‘high potential’ women between the ages of 27 and 35 to participate in at least one workshop. Ideally these women would not be from the same division, to allow an element of anonymity and discretion.

Workshops are not open to individuals at this stage, but we hope to extend the pilot into a much broader scheme in 2016.

For further information, please contact Niamh Corbett (niamh.corbett@morganstanley.com) who co-leads the Career Strategy group.

We have recently set up a Higher Education working group to look at diversity in universities and higher education establishments and to encourage a pooling of ideas across both the corporate and the higher education sectors to reduce the gender gap across governing bodies and faculties, as well as to analyse and act to improve the experiences of female students.

We recently piloted a student survey at Cambridge University with the aim of drilling down on student aspirations and  establishing whether women’s experiences at university affect their motivation and ability to get ahead. The pilot results report will be available shortly and 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 organises free talks by inspirational speakers, including business leaders, for state secondary schools and colleges. January has seen a special board focus with speakers delivering a series of talks on the theme of ‘Equality Across the Board’ that aim to encourage girls to see their potential in leadership positions. A host of leading industry figures have committed to give these talks, including: Sir Roger Carr, Chairman of BAE Systems; Sir Peter Gershon, Chairman of Tate & Lyle; Robert Swannell, Chairman of Marks & Spencer; Ian Powell, Chairman of PwC; Steven Lovegrove, Permanent Secretary for DECC; Sir John Parker, Chairman of Anglo American PLC and Helena Morrissey, CEO of Newton Investment Management. Click here to see our launch video.

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.
  • 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.