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Engendering a change at the top

We’re making strides towards our goal of being fully gender balanced by 2030, and yes, there’s still some way to go, but there’s a lot that we’re proud of too.

We were delighted to see that our annual results revealed that the number of women we have in senior positions has increased to 37%, which is an 8% increase since targets were introduced. Within the bank’s top 4000 roles, our female population has increased to 45% too – our ambitions are starting to come to fruition.

2018 has proved to be a notable year for us with regards to increasing the number of women in senior roles. The appointments of Katie Murray as RBS Chief Financial Officer and Alison Rose to Deputy CEO and a Director of NatWest Holdings (this link opens in a new window) have both been lauded designations.

Our successes are not limited to senior roles, as initiatives such as our Female Insight Week internship, and a continued focus on attracting female graduates into STEM subjects evidence a sense of unity across the bank; we want all areas and levels to support our overarching ambition.

There’s an increasing amount of developmental opportunities being offered to support this goal - such as networking, performance coaching, Employee-Led Networks, workshops, events, mentors, and internal communications.

The RBS Women Network is one such initiative. Launched to help us attract, retain and develop talented females. Male colleagues are welcome to the network too. There’s a range of opportunities that the network offers, one being a Dragon’s Den. The same premise as the TV show of the same name, this is a programme that culminates in groups pitching an idea to the dragons – who in the case of RBS are six senior leaders.

Chrissy – a Team Leader in Premier Banking - was in the 2018 cohort. Wanting to challenge herself as to what she could achieve, Chrissy undertook the six week programme. Placed into a project group, she was tasked with having to conceive, formulate and present a proposal that responded to a particular challenge.

‘I thought I’d crumble and forget my words during the presentation, but I kept practising – even reciting it aloud in the shower – and I was passionate about our idea.’

Chrissy has been with the bank since leaving university, navigating her way through a couple of branch based roles where she gained her CeMap qualification before moving to a telephony based Mortgage Adviser position. It was around this time that she realised that she wanted to take the step onto the management ladder. Moving seamlessly across several areas of the bank, and building on her management experience, Chrissy grabbed the opportunity to develop further and put herself forward for the programme. Chrissy recalls her experience,

‘I was in two minds when I applied; wondering if I could handle presenting to a senior audience, how I’d manage the workload in addition to my role, and considering what I’d gain from taking part. When my application was accepted, I felt a moment of dread, convinced I was going to mess up the Dragon’s Den.

‘My prize for winning the Outstanding Achievement is to meet Alison Rose for lunch which I’m excited about. How often do you have the opportunity to sit down with one of your business’s senior leaders?’

‘I thought I’d crumble and forget my words during the presentation, but I kept practising – even reciting it aloud in the shower – and I was passionate about our idea. My confidence grew massively during the six weeks, and I’d say to anyone reading this that if you get the opportunity to take part in something like this, do it. Take a deep breath and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Taking part will really reignite your self-belief, widen your network and expand your business knowledge.

‘When my group won the Dragon’s Den it felt empowering, and I was so pleased that our hard work paid off. The Dragons, and the rest of the audience, really seemed to be rooting for us to do well. And when I was nominated for the Outstanding Achievement award by some of my cohort I couldn’t believe it; it was incredibly humbling.

‘Working for an inclusive employer is imperative. I’ve been with RBS for a long time and from a managerial point of view, supporting your team’s progression is vital’

‘My prize for winning the Outstanding Achievement is to meet Alison Rose for lunch which I’m excited about. How often do you have the chance to sit down with one of your business’s senior leaders? Alison comes across like she genuinely wants to make a difference for the better. I’m going to go prepped with some questions to ask about her career journey - and see if she’s got any pointers for me.

‘We took part in a number of workshops and webinars that I’ve since utilised in my role. As a people manager, I want to use my experience to benefit my team, and hopefully inspire them to seek out developmental opportunities too.

‘Working for an inclusive employer is imperative. I’ve been with RBS for a long time and from a managerial point of view, supporting your team’s progression is vital. I enjoy seeing people flourish and achieve their goals. The fact that I work for a company that offers a range of networks is fantastic, and I’ve found the Women Network at RBS really nurturing.’

We’ve got the tools and inspiration for women to manage their own careers successfully, and importantly, progress. As we look to the future we’ll continue to encourage women to build a career with us; to maximise their potential in whatever discipline they’re based.

Let’s continue to walk towards something better.