Our CEO Gary Elden was recently honoured by the Queen with an Officer for the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in recognition of his services to ‘Diversity in Business’. We asked him why he is so passionate about inclusion and why he thinks there’s still a lot to be done.
Driving an unbiased way of thinking
“At SThree, we celebrate successes, awards and inclusion milestones and we’re all proud to be part of a company that is making a difference. But why is inclusion even a conversation? Inclusivity should be a given, yet we face both internal and external challenges daily that detract us.
“It’s not about ticking a box and there is no one size fits all approach, our business attitudes should reflect modern day society. Our workplace should mirror that of any street we walk down. It’s our unconscious bias we struggle with and ultimately, it holds us back. We need to take the passion we get from our success and the strength we take from achieving milestones whether that’s from the small wins to the significant goals to drive a renewed and unbiased way of thinking.”
Taking inclusion as a given
“In August and September, we’ve seen inclusion on a global scale at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio. Competitors, individuals and teams show incredible strength, passion and dedication. Their vision to see the end game, the dream of a podium finish, fuels them. It’s this passion that allows them to succeed, irrelevant of any orientation, gender or race.
“At Rio this year, women make up 45% of total competitors, more than any other year in the history of the Olympics. All teams are diverse as they are inclusive. It’s not a conversation, it’s not up for debate, no one is saying ‘check that box for inclusivity’, it’s a given. This is how it should be and I want my daughters to know they can achieve anything they are passionate about with no boundaries or limitations.
“Of course, there is always more to be done. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) are working on it. The task of addressing what so many other organisations are trying to do – attract more women into senior roles. In 2014, only 24 women were active IOC members out of 106, that’s around 22.6%. It’s a continued thread across a majority of companies, where females in senior leadership roles are still alarmingly low.
“At SThree, we set aspirational gender targets to focus our efforts and steer us in the right direction to increase the representation of females at all levels. From 2012, we have seen an increase of 8% in female representation in our Director and Partner roles. In our team management level roles, female representation has increased by 14%. It’s ongoing, but it’s not just a conversation, it’s our honest progress, and its action.”
Feeling part of an inclusive environment without discrimination
“We are better people when we are inclusive and respectful, both important values I want my daughters to see as a given in society and in the workplace. In a study by Harvard Business Review, researchers found that when a firm was led by a CEO with at least one daughter, it scored an average of 11.9% higher on CSR metrics and spent 13.4% more of its net income on CSR than the median**. My daughters are my inspiration and I want them to feel part of an inclusive environment without discrimination.
“At SThree, it’s part of our Identity. Set up in 2011, to support the development and progression of women, our Identity Programme has now evolved to embrace diversity in all its forms. It’s about bringing individual opinions and contributions to the team, irrelevant of gender, background or culture. We want our teams to bring their passion and experiences to the table. It allows us to support our customers better and gives us the ability to understand our business better. It’s what empowers us. It’s a true meritocracy, one that inspires my passion personally.”
If you want to join an organisation which is committed to creating an inclusive environment, browse our most recent jobs.