Five years ago, IR magazine first studied the differences in seniority and pay between men and women in the IR profession.
We found that while the number of men and women working in IRs was about the same, many more men held IR leadership positions. On average, men also received a higher salary than their female counterparts. The results, while depressing, were not surprising. Probe other industries, especially those related to financial markets, and you’ll find similar disparities.
Since, IR magazine regularly organized events on equality in IR, as part of our global initiative to create a level playing field for excellence in the IR community.
The Latest Event took place in May, with attendees coming together virtually to hear panel discussions and keynotes on how to support diversity within the profession and achieve their individual career goals.
The first panel focused on the role of business in promoting diversity, asking questions such as: what are effective ways to build a more inclusive team? How can organizations support long-term change? And what role can targets play?
Robert Nuzzo, chief operating officer of fundamental equities, Americas, at BlackRock, said companies should focus on creating new opportunities for diverse candidates, not just identifying diverse candidates for their own organization.
“Are you creating opportunities for people who otherwise wouldn’t have that opportunity? ” He asked. “In the United States, we are trying to overcome systemic issues that are not going to change overnight. We must find ways to cultivate an inclusive and equitable environment.
Later, panelists discussed the importance of being ambitious but also realistic when setting goals, as well as creating accountability systems.
“If it’s just defined as a theoretical goal, then there’s an opportunity to say, We tried and it didn’t happensaid Margeaux Bruner, ESG and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director for Trulieve. “I think it’s very, very important to try to quantify a goal that you can meet or exceed.”
The second panel delved into the role of the IRO, offering stories and advice on career advancement, salary negotiation, and work-life balance.
Carolynne Borders, senior executive director of IR at GE, discussed how being a valuable resource outside of the C-suite helps increase your value within the organization.
“News usually travels pretty quickly about your value,” she said. “And you will find that you are one of the first people these teams go to when there are challenging environments.” Or maybe they want perspective based on a strategic consideration – you know you’re doing a great job and adding value when you get those phone calls.
“I think the best way to progress is to become one of those oft-tapped resources. But you need to have a diverse set of experiences, which comes with time. And if you don’t have it yet, that’s okay. You work to build that.
During the same panel, Ilene Fiszel Bieler, Global Head of IR at State Street Corporation, spoke about the positive role mentors have played in her career.
“I literally just approached someone who I thought was really, really smart, who I had worked with on a cross-functional project,” she recalled. “And I went to him and said: Hey, would you be my mentor? And it was kind of funny, because he said, Well tell me what it means.
“And that’s actually what put me on the path to Equity IR. If I hadn’t contacted him when I was in a completely different world, I don’t know if that opportunity would come. would be presented to me.
do your part
Closing the event, attendees heard from executive search consultant Smooch Repovich Rosenberg, who encouraged IR professionals to remain committed to advancing equality within the profession.
‘Be intentional in your actions, have a clear voice on your priorities, and know that no goal achieved means we’re finished as influencers. It’s a journey to a better future,” Repovich Rosenberg said.
“Unfortunately, the world doesn’t always run at the speed we would like it to. And we must not only hold out hope that the pendulum will begin to swing on all elements of equality, but also commit to doing part of the solution, and not leaving all the answers to others.
For more information or to view replays of the event, please Click here.