Financial advice network Openwork has marked International Women’s Day by committing to attract more women into the industry as financial advisers and in its executive management team.
It has made considerable strides in the past four years due to a focus on increased recruitment of female financial advisers and throughout the wider business.
Mark Duckworth, chief executive of Openwork, said: “International Women’s Day is an opportunity for us to review progress so far and commit to maintain the drive to further enhance female representation across the business.
“The financial services industry needs to do more to promote gender equality. Over the next few years Openwork will strive to increase the numbers of female advisers across our network, with financial advice offering excellent career prospects.
“I am proud of what Openwork has achieved for female diversity but there is much more that we will be doing over the next few months and years.”
The number of female advisers has grown from 22% across the network in 2014 to around 30% at the end of 2018 with more than 1,188 women working for the organisation. That contrasts with industry estimates that just 11% of advisers across the UK are women.
Within the Openwork Group, 30% of the executive management team are women and over the next 12 months the company has committed to further increasing female representation to ensure there is a strong pipeline of future female leaders.
A key driver of the rise in female advisers is the Openwork Academy, an initiative which provides structured learning and qualification support and mentoring to help people from a range of backgrounds achieve a successful career in financial advice.
Over the last two intakes, just under 40% of Academy candidates have been women.
Openwork has also reviewed recruitment and internal promotion practices, recruited two women to its executive board in the last six months, joined the Insuring Women’s Futures programme, and launched a maternity policy which puts Openwork ‘best in class’ in its sector.