Financial services research has revealed that over half of UK SMEs do not consider their businesses as being 'gender diverse'. Colin Swanston, Managing Director at Close Brothers Asset Finance, discusses the lack of female representation in the SME sector.
Results from the Close Brothers Business Barometer has revealed that over half (52%) of UK SME business owners do not class their business as ‘gender diverse’, despite 65% feeling that enough is being done to encourage women into their sector.
The Barometer offers industry insights across a range of sectors and regions, and surveyed over 900 UK SME owners and senior management. It also revealed a direct correlation between a business’s turnover and their likelihood to have a higher proportion of female workers.
“It’s encouraging that businesses are honest enough to admit that, from a gender perspective, they aren’t currently diverse enough,” said Colin Swanston, Managing Director at Close Brothers Asset Finance.
“Encouragingly, nearly two thirds of businesses feel steps are being taken to bring more balance to the workforce.”
There was also a direct correlation between a business’s turnover and their likelihood to have a higher proportion of female workers. Research demonstrated that companies with a turnover of more than £10m were 10% more likely to employ female workers than those with less than half that figure.
With the SME sector not included in the gender pay gap legislation which came into force this year (only companies with over 250 employees must report their gender pay gap data) research on gender diversity remains key to improving women’s position in the workplace.
Would you class your business as being 'gender diverse'?
When asked the question "does your company actively strive to recruit more women?" the results were less positive, with only 32% answering ‘yes’ and the remainder ‘no’.
“An important caveat to this finding is that the smaller the company’s size, the less likely they were to answer ‘yes’,” continued Colin.
“Given the sectors we surveyed, this should come as no surprise because industries like engineering have long struggled to become more diverse, and not through a lack of trying.”
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Colin Swanston is the Managing Director of the Transport Division of Close Brothers Asset Finance based in Scotland. For over 30 years Colin has specialised in providing alternative asset funding to the Scottish SME Marketplace. Close Brothers Asset Finance are the official ICAS Partner for the Insolvency and Restructuring Community, and have sponsored the ICAS Insolvency and Restructuring Conference for the past four years. Find out more about Close Brothers Asset Finance.
This blog is one of a series of articles from our commercial partners. The views expressed are those of the commercial partner and not necessarily those of ICAS.