Chris is passionate about progressing gender equality
‘Things have come a long way in 30 years, but how far have we to go?’
Having two daughters and being brought up by a passionate Greek-Cypriot mum, I’ve spent my life surrounded by women, and I consider myself a better, more rounded person for it.
But it’s even within my working life that I can remember a time when this wasn’t the case at work.
A time when there were no or very few women around the senior table, when women left to start a family and didn’t come back. And where arguably the decisions we made were narrow and not always as considered as they should be.
Things have come a long way in 30 years but it pains me that in 2018 we must still have conversations around why gender equality is a no-brainer, that it’s essential for business and is the right thing to do.
And for my daughters, I want more. I want workplaces that seek out their talent and their views and support their careers.
During the week of International Women’s Day there will be many conversations around the world about the gender balance of teams and how can we close that gap. In some cases some may ask, why bother?
Well from a business perspective, I believe that we will be a more successful, sustainable and better business if we have an equal balance of men and women. It’s that simple
But to make change happen you need a blended approach, with senior leaders championing it, initiatives in place, and targets to track the effectiveness of diversity programmes.
To begin with, driving gender diversity starts with the recruitment process. At Sky we want equally balanced male and female shortlists across all vacancies. Previously, we were 70/30 in favour of men and are now near our recruitment targets for all roles. We set ourselves an aspiration of getting to 50/50 gender balance in our senior leadership, and in less than two years of setting this goal we have moved from around 30% to nearly 40%.
However – the work doesn’t stop there. We also have plans in place to improve the balance in more challenging areas, designing programmes to help change the industry standard, for example our Sky Women in Tech scholarship and our new Sky Home Service Engineer training programme.
Yes, it’s about pressing for progress this International Women’s Day, but that’s one day – a day which I hope we won’t need forever – why would it exist if we had achieved true equality? To make gender diversity happen, ultimately, it’s about being committed to this cause and putting in the effort to make change happen.
If gender balance is a business priority, as I believe it should be, you’ll find a way to put the necessary steps in place.