PTSB fails to address its gender imbalance

While women comprise 57 per cent of the bank’s total workforce, they hold just 24 per cent of senior management positions

Permanent TSB  asked EY to review policy and practice ‘with a view to developing a comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategy’. Photograph: Alan Betson

Permanent TSB asked EY to review policy and practice ‘with a view to developing a comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategy’. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Irish Life and Permanent, the precursor of Permanent TSB (PTSB), may have boasted the first chairwoman of a mainstream Irish lender in the late Gillian Bowler, but PTSB has failed to live up to its own target of having 30 per cent female representation on its board in 2017, according to its latest annual report.

The company, which returned to profit last year for the first time in a decade, managed only a 20 per cent ratio, with Julie O’Neill and Emer Daly the only women on the board.

While PTSB says it prides itself as an “equal opportunities employer”, the 57 per cent of its total 2,519-strong workforce that comprises women shrinks to just 24 per cent when it comes to senior management positions.

PTSB is not alone. Similar trends can be seen right across the banking sector. Even Bank of Ireland’s new chief executive, Francesca McDonagh, disappointed many when she promoted only one woman – Maureen Stanley – to her executive committee under a sweeping overhaul of her top management last week.

“I would love to have an increasingly diverse time. It’s not complete, but I also have to work with the pipeline of talent that I have within [the bank],” McDonagh told The Irish Times last week. “We have some really talented women who I’m very keen to see contributing at the top table. We have to look at how we can bring more women along the career path, but that does take time.”

For PTSB, it was time to call in the consultants last year. The bank asked EY to review policy and practice “with a view to developing a comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategy”. The firm apparently put forward a number of recommendations – which haven’t been outlined in the report – to make the bank a more welcoming place for all with ambitions to climb the corporate ladder.

We’ll see how they get on.

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