Recruitment quotas ‘only way’ to ensure gender diversity, says Rutter

Establishing quotas as performance targets to ensure certain percentages of women and minorities are hired is the only way to improve workplace diversity initially, a woman with 20 years of experience in financial services has said.

Mon, 4 Jul 2016

Establishing quotas as performance targets to ensure certain percentages of women and minorities are hired is the only way to improve workplace diversity initially, a woman with 20 years of experience in financial services has said. 

Kirsty Rutter, chief executive of Eaton Risk Advisory, was speaking to a London audience of female strategy professionals last week.

“If you make a target payable, you see change,” she said. 

Rutter claimed that attempting to diversify, failing and “going away, nothing changes”, she added. “If you disrupt and stay there, it [having women in male-dominated workplaces] becomes normal.”

Quotas are necessary to “make it normal”, she said. “Then take [them] off.”

Rutter was one of two speakers at a Women in Strategy evening event hosted by professional services recruiter Investigo last week and attended by Recruiter

In introducing the evening, Paul Mullins, Investigo’s director of strategy and senior hires, told the audience that women currently make up 10% of partner-level roles in strategy consultancies. The company says that nurturing and encouraging female talent is high on its agenda, which prompted the strategy team to host the event last Wednesday, their first for women strategy professionals.

Rutter has worked in financial services for UK, US and Swiss financial institutions across a variety of disciplines. She established Eaton Risk Advisory last year. In sharing her experiences with the audience last week, she said a key difference between men and women in the financial services workplace was men’s lack of an “emotional agenda”. 

“I took everything home, everything was personal,” she said. “If I was a guy, I would have taken more risks and cared less.” When she took those lessons onboard, she said, “life got easier.”

She added, “We [women] are not typically good players of politics. Office is sport to men; it’s where women go to show how brilliant they are.”

Also speaking was Christine Delevanis, partner at boutique strategy consultancy Marakon. She said she had never felt held back in her work, saying, “I don’t think consultancy is an unattractive environment for women. [But] I think women struggle to make it work” because of needing to work flexibly, have career breaks and building support systems.

“It’s very hard to play an ‘A’ game when you’re on a part-time model,” she said. “The thing that creates pressure is the client dynamic. There’s a lot of travel, it’s pressure. It’s just hard. You have to get used to saying ‘no’…Consulting is a fast-paced business, and you’ve got to be up for it.”   

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