"If your workplace isn’t fair, your business isn’t healthy," says Matt Elliott, chief people officer of Bank of Ireland. "Equality is too big a business priority to stand by and hope someone else takes action."
Today’s workplace sees a gender pay gap of 8.6% between men and women employed full time, with this rising to more than 15% for those aged 50 and above. When taken all the way up to CEO level, The Equality Trust reported just six female CEOs running FTSE 100 companies at the start of 2019, with earnings of just over half of those enjoyed by their male counterparts. Widen this out to FTSE 350 companies and the most recent Hampton-Alexander Review found that just 3% – that’s 12 companies – have female CEOs.
Elliott calls on Britain’s male business leaders to "play their part" and "recognise their responsibility" for creating a #BalanceforBetter: "Change can be powerfully led by the ‘majority’ influencer," he says.
Before joining Bank of Ireland, Elliott worked as people director at Virgin Money where he introduced schemes such as maternity mentoring, matching flexible working practices of prospective senior candidates, and equalising maternity pay for parental leave. On his watch, the business voluntarily reported its gender pay gap a year early – and was the first FTSE 350 firm to report under the new rules.
Last year, Elliott was named as one of Management Today’s "Agents of Change". These "manbassadors" are battling for greater gender equality and diversity within the ranks of British business and helping to shatter glass ceilings.
They recognise that this isn’t just the right thing to do, it also makes business sense. McKinsey estimates that bridging the gender gap in work would add £150bn to the UK economy by 2025. Research also shows that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity in their executive teams are 21% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile.
This year, we’ve teamed up with the Women’s Business Council and Sky to shine the spotlight on more men like Elliott.
If you deserve to appear on our 2019 male Agents of Change power list, please fill in the nomination form below and tell us how you’re driving gender equality initiatives and challenging the status quo within – and beyond – your organisation.
Entries will be judged by Dame Cilla Snowball, chair of the Women's Business Council; Richard Robinson, managing partner at Econsultancy; Daniele Fiandaca, co-founder of Utopia and Token Man; Wendy Hallett, managing director and founder, Hallett Retail; Richard Lee, chief people officer at Willmott Dixon; and Kate Bassett, head of content, Management Today.
"We want to find the men who make it their mission to challenge gender inequality in the workplace and champion amazing female talent," explains Robinson, who appeared on our list in 2017.
Nominations have now closed.
The power list will be published on Management Today and in the national press in early May.