At the Central Bank, we don't just accept difference – we seek it and we embrace it because we know that it benefits our people, our organisation and our stakeholders. To achieve our mission and mandate, we need people with diverse experiences, backgrounds, perspectives and thinking styles. We have a clear diversity and inclusion vision with a published commitment to create a diverse and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their potential
Targeting diverse talent for our roles
The Central Bank commitment to diversity goes far beyond complying with equality legislation. Our approach includes proactively engaging people with disabilities; ensuring that we have accommodating and supportive recruitment practices that allow people to show the best version of themselves; and then making certain that our physical environment and everyday ways of working are inclusive for all our people once they come and join our team.
For all of our recruitment campaigns, we encourage applications from diverse candidates and we ask people to make us aware of any accommodations we can make to enable us to see the best version of themselves during the process. We aim for diversity of thought and experience in our interview panels, we include unconscious bias in our interview training.
We are involved in a number of initiatives which focus on providing employment opportunities for under-represented groups and/or which support them in becoming more employable. Our activity in this area will continue to grow, enabling us to attract diverse talent to the Central Bank.
We have participated in the Willing and Able Mentoring programme (WAM) in 2018 for the first time, with nine-month placements commencing with us in the coming weeks, and we will be working with WAM to identify two individuals to join our Graduate programme for 2019.
Key to our success in creating an inclusive working environment is the incorporation of universal design principles in the design of our workspaces. Our new headquarters on North Wall Quay has won national and international awards for it's accessibility. Embedding universal design has created a better environment for all employees and visitors, and reduces the need for reasonable accommodations to be put in place on a case-by-case basis.
Our scholarship rogramme targets school leavers who may want/need to earn while they study. We recognise that not everyone has the opportunity to study full-time and this programme is designed to support people (eight in 2018) to attain their degree (part-time) while they work, with all the study support needed. It’s a highly sought after programme, with 500 applicants in the first year of operation.
The Central Bank has participated in the Fastrack to Information Technology programme (FIT) for a number of years and this year we have two individuals who are currently undertaking their studies full-time supported by the Central Bank, who will join us in March 2019.
We actively support other work-placement programmes such as;
- Participation in Career Leap, which is a work-readiness programme for young adults aged 18-24 based in Dublin's Docklands/North Inner City not in education, employment or training. The pioneering programme, developed by Trinity College's School of Education, is delivered in conjunction with East Wall Youth, Swan Youth Services and over 20 businesses in the docklands and city centre. It is a great initiative, which the Bank is supporting work placements, with one individual attaining a long term role with the Central Bank.
- National Council for the Blind (NCBI) run a Back to Work programme which the Bank is supporting through providing six-week work placements.
We have committed to building on these efforts in our D&I Action Plan for 2018-2019 and beyond.
Building an inclusive workplace
At the Central Bank, we strongly outperform both the financial services sector, the public sector and European peers, in terms of seniority and pay from a gender perspective. More than one third of our board are women, as are 40 per cent of our executive committee, and 43 per cent of our leadership team. We are committed to doing even better. Our 2018 Gender Pay Gap Report demonstrates our pay structures provide for equal pay for equal work. While there are no differences between pay levels at any given grade, overall, there is a 2.7 per cent difference between the average pay for males and females across the Central Bank. The Central Bank as regulator of the financial sector, has also articulated to the financial services industry its expectations. We believe that diversity of thought in the management of financial firms is essential to our mandate to safeguard stability.
Given how busy and demanding modern life is, we recognise at the Central Bank that all our employees need support in managing their careers and responsibilities outside of the workplace. We have a variety of flexible working arrangements, with flexible working hours part of the normal culture with many employees availing of flexible leave.
We have four employee-led networks (Women's; Parents & Carers; Rainbow; BankAbility) all which host workshops and talks, raise awareness and create an inclusive culture. Some initiatives from these groups;
- Our Parents & Carer's Network developed e-learning module to support managers in engaging positively with expectant mothers and fathers.
- Our Rainbow Network organised a mentoring session by the charity BelongTo who provided information to parents, cares and others about how to support young people when they come out as LGBT+.
- Our BankAbility network launched two videos about our 'work environment' and 'how we work'.
There is also a pilot coaching programme to support women before during and after maternity leave.
Our senior leaders have spoken publically on the importance of diversity and inclusion. Deputy governor, Sharon Donnery this year told an audience of international central bankers about her belief that ensuring appropriate gender representation is not just the preserve of HR professionals but also of senior managers who importantly set the tone for the organisation. In our role as regulator we have been forthright outlining the expectation of the financial firms we regulate to have the diversity of demographics and of thought that ensures good governance and mitigates against the consequences of groupthink. Commenting earlier this year on the publication of research by the Central Bank on demographics of applications for regulatory approval for senior financial roles; deputy governor, Ed Sibley said, "The Central Bank will continue to prioritise driving meaningful change in the levels of diversity at senior levels in regulated financial services firms."
There is a strong business imperative for organisations to do everything they can to attract, develop and retain diverse talent. Research shows that gender diversity can lead to better outcomes in terms of productivity, governance and decision-making. We expect this of the firms we regulate and our public interest mandate means that we have an obligation to do what is right and uphold the highest standards of ethics and integrity.