The Bank of England has appointed Charlotte Hogg as its new chief operating officer. She is effectively to become the Bank’s number two to new governor Mark Carney and will take responsibility for the day-to-day running of the Bank overseeing everything from human resources to the Banks technology and operating systems.
It has been hailed a massive breakthrough for women in a notoriously male dominated industry. The news is of course welcome and it has been reported that Hogg was ‘handpicked’ personally by Mark Carney after he personally interviewed all the shortlisted candidates.
The Bank, however, is still a heavily male dominated operation. From the current governor (Sir Mervyn King), his three deputies, and the nine-strong monetary policy committee that sets interest rates along with the new 11-strong financial policy committee– all are men. And in addition the Bank’s court of directors has just one woman among the 12 ‘grandees’.
Aware of its image as a male dominated organisation, the bank has been quick to point out that a third of its middle and senior management positions are held by women, adding that this is up 50% on a decade ago. Other efforts have been made to address the problem internally and in 2007 a women’s network was set up. Its purpose is to support all women in their career progression at the Bank.
Supporting women in this way is extremely important and the network organises lunch-time panel sessions where women employees (and men) can share experiences and discuss solutions to perceived barriers to career progression. External speakers are invited to share their inspiring stories and additional support to improve specific skill sets.
This proactive approach will help to improve both the image but most importantly increase the number of women appointed to senior management positions.
Last year women made up 43% of graduates recruited into permanent jobs at the Bank up from 29% in 2011. The Bank recently won an award for the public-sector employer doing the most to create a pipeline of female leaders of the future.
With this positive approach perhaps appointments like Ms. Hogg’s won’t be an exception and will not be written about because it’s such a rarity for a woman to have been appointed into such a senior role.