Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
We have an enviable reputation for championing diversity, equity and inclusion and delivering gender and ethnically diverse appointments.
Our support for diversity is core to our purpose.
We know that diversity is good for business
Evidence shows that boards with racial and ethnic diversity perform better. McKinsey’s analysis highlights that companies that were more gender diverse were 25% more likely to outperform their peers in terms of profitability. For companies that were more ethnically diverse, the figure was 36%. It makes sense: organisations where people and leadership teams reflect and represent their customer base and communities deliver greater market competitiveness, innovation, enhanced sustainability and stronger employee engagement.
We embed diversity in our approach
Our support for diversity, equity and inclusion is core to our purpose of ‘building diverse boards and leadership teams to deliver positive sustainable change’. It’s cultivated and enriched through our candidate pools, relationships and networks; it’s embedded in our processes and in business targets which hold us to account; and it’s demonstrated by extensive industry engagement and leadership.
We create diverse leadership teams
We consistently outperform our peers in placing diverse leaders. In 2022, we placed women in 80% of our FTSE 350 board placements and 40% of all our placements, whilst 14% of our appointments were ethnically diverse.
Warren Partners established the Board Fellowship programme which connects FTSE 250 boards with high potential ethnic minority talent. The programme is about:
- Action: supporting boards to take the first step and introduce ethnic diversity to their board
- Opportunity: providing a unique opportunity for individual Fellows to gain invaluable exposure, mentoring and network
- The future: contributing to broadening the pipeline of experienced ethnically diverse candidates for non-executive director (NED) roles
Fellows attend board and committee meetings with full access to commercial and governance matters for a year – they have a voice but not a vote. In return, the host board benefits from the active and passionate contribution of a diverse yet credible voice. There are clear reputational benefits for host companies and a deeply rewarding mentoring and learning experience for chairs and supporting NEDs. It can also be a chance for the host board to ‘plug gaps’ by drawing on missing experience or by supporting succession planning.
Warren Partner’s support for Board Fellowship appointments is pro bono. It’s a win, win and win — for the candidate, the board and for society. Find out more.
Momentum continues to build around Change the Race Ratio – a campaign aimed at increasing racial and ethnic participation in business leadership – since the campaign launched in 2020.
The campaign sets out four Commitments to Change, based on findings from the Parker Review:
- Increase racial and ethnic diversity among board members
- Increase racial and ethnic diversity in senior leadership
- Be transparent on actions
- Create an inclusive culture that allows diverse talent to thrive
Warren Partners was one of the founding signatories, committing to work collectively to drive progress with our clients, whatever the stage of their diversity and inclusion journey.
EPOC, short for Empowering People of Colour, is a peer-to-peer network that connects high-potential leaders of colour seeking board opportunities with chairs and the key decision-makers looking to create more inclusive organisations.
EPOC was founded with a simple aim: to change the future make up of leadership at the top of all UK institutions to ensure they all reflect the society that they serve and in which we all live. A common perception is that there are not enough experienced people of colour to achieve this aim. EPOC believes that the talent pool of people of colour does not need to be created. It already exists.
Warren Partners believes this too and partners closely with EPOC to provide practical support, mentoring and access.
Warren Partners is proud to have consistently played our part in supporting the aims of the FTSE Women Leaders. Their annual report reviews progress on improving the representation of women on the boards and in leadership positions of Britain’s largest companies, including a target of achieving 33% of women board members in FTSE 350 companies. It builds on the important groundwork of the Hampton-Alexander and Davies Reviews and is supported by the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
FTSE Women Leaders oversees the Enhanced Voluntary Code of Conduct for executive search firms, which acknowledges their work helping FTSE 350 boards to enhance their gender diversity. Warren Partners is one of only nine executive search firms in 2021 to meet the exacting standards of the accreditation process, as well as receiving recognition for the impact we are having beyond the FTSE 350 in each of the last five years.
The Women in Finance Charter is a pledge for firms to commit to gender balance across the financial services sector, supported by the UK government’s HM Treasury. Signatories formally commit to support the progression of women into senior roles, set meaningful targets and be transparent and accountable in reporting this.
Well over 400 firms have voluntarily signed up, including many clients of Warren Partners. We stand with our clients as signatories and are proud to actively support their efforts to deliver on the targets and share best practices. As part of our commitment to the Charter, we set ourselves the target to have 50% female representation amongst our senior executive team. We are proud to report, as of August 2023, we exceeded our target with 58% of women in leadership positions.
Progress Together is committed to creating an inclusive environment within the financial services industry. Through a variety of initiatives, including workshops, mentoring, benchmarking, and policy advocacy, Progress Together is focused on advancing socio-economic diversity at the highest levels of organisations, from Non-Executive Boards to Executive Committees and two levels down.
Warren Partners is delighted to be partnering with Progress Together to tackle the stark socio-economic imbalance in financial services. This initiative aligns perfectly with our purpose of building diverse boards and leadership teams, and we are passionate about supporting our clients to reap the business benefits of diversity, in this instance, socio-economic diversity. We also want to help level the playing field and care deeply that individuals from all backgrounds can achieve their full potential, irrespective of where they started in life.
Boards and leadership teams increasingly identify and affirm diversity as a priority for executive roles and when planning for succession. Our role is to help them achieve this, and to provide checks and challenges along the way.
To support this, we commit to stretching targets for the percentage of women and ethnically diverse candidates on our longlists and shortlists and to demonstrating why not if we can’t achieve this. This follows through to individual and business level performance targets, and external monitoring through the Enhanced Voluntary Code.
We formulate non-discriminatory role profiles and work to ensure that assignment briefs are framed in an open and inclusive way, particularly with chair roles. We avoid relying on conventional career paths as an indicator of success, focusing instead on ensuring that appropriate weight is given to underlying competencies and personal capabilities.
Diverse talent pools
We take responsibility for reaching out to diverse candidates and proactively building broad and diverse talent pools. We do this through recommendations, referrals, informal and formal networks, sponsorship, engagement and targeted research strategies to identify diverse talent. We monitor and support careers, invest in building relationships with rising stars and placed candidates and provide access to networks and mentoring.
Candidate selection and assessment
As clients evaluate candidates, we ensure that they provide appropriate weight to intrinsic competencies and capabilities rather than over-valuing certain kinds of experience. We invest in extensive and thorough referencing to support and evidence this. If required, we help clients make sure their interview processes are conducted with the right balance of open enquiry and rigour, advising on how to avoid any unconscious bias.
Engagement with candidates
We take care of all our candidates. For those from underrepresented backgrounds we go the extra mile. We engage early and ensure sufficient time is built into the process, provide more touchpoints and counsel, take concerns seriously and make sure candidates can communicate the value of their experience and how it’s transferable with confidence.
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