City heavyweights call for action on diversity

Britain's most powerful business leaders are calling for greater action on gender diversity and workplace sexism in the run-up to new pay gap reporting rules coming into force. 
Boardrooms across the UK have been warned that they need to get tougher on gender inequality or face severe reputational consequences in the coming months. 
From April, gender pay gap reporting will require all UK companies with at least 250 staff to publish the gap ­between male and female employees. 
While the number of all-male boards has dropped in recent years, there are still very few women in top jobs, with more men named David, Steve or Stephen leading a FTSE 100 firm than there were female bosses in 2016. 
Sir Roger Carr, chairman of BAE Systems, warned companies that ignored female workers “you do so at your peril”. Opportunities for women across British businesses have been limited for far too long, he said. 
“A fair reward structure has risen to the surface – there is an awareness level that wasn’t there even a year ago,” he told The Sunday Telegraph. “It’s not a women’s issue, it’s about getting businesses equipped with the best possible roles – the talent pool of the country will then be harvested. At least half the talent is female in this world. If you ­ignore that you do so at your peril.” 
City heavyweights call for action on diversity

BAE Systems boss Roger Carr has warned the City against ignoring female workers
Lady Barbara Judge, the first female chairman of the Institute of Directors and one of the UK’s most powerful business women, said although the UK had made real progress in recent years the battle to get more women into senior jobs was “far from over”. 
“The main cause of the [pay] gap is the fact fewer women progress up the work ladder than men. Much more must be done to ensure more women reach the executive level,” she said.
“We’ve always been quite gentle in this country saying we’re not misogynist. Maybe there’s some unconscious bias, which is a gentle rebuke,” said Sir Philip Hampton, chairman of Glaxo­SmithKline, who last year led a government review into women in business. “There is a question that there is more than unconscious bias [at play] – more sexist than we explicitly recognise.” 
City fund manager Helena Morrissey said the new law was “part of a crescendo building”, while PwC’s Jon Terry said companies would be forced to deal with the issue this year because “their reputation is now at risk”.
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