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Press picture prompts criticism of Jersey’s commitment to diversity

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QUESTIONS have been raised over the Island’s commitment to diversity and inclusion at the highest levels due to the make-up of a delegation representing the financial and digital sectors at a recent event.

Picture: Prospect Magazine (28652105)

Representatives from the Island, including from Jersey Finance, Digital Jersey, the JFSC and the Government of Jersey, recently met UK officials in London at a ‘roundtable’ hosted by Prospect magazine to discuss the future of international finance centres.

But the Island’s all-white male choice of representatives at the event has come in for criticism. The event, which was held in March shortly before the lockdown, was featured in Prospect towards the end of May.

Earlier this year, a number of leading Jersey organisations, including Jersey Finance and the government, signed a pledge of support for a diversity-and-inclusion charter launched by the Institute of Directors Jersey.

Kate Wright, co-founder of The Diversity Network, said she was concerned about how the Island might be perceived as it competes for global business.

‘Our diversity of talent needs to be much better reflected in the most senior positions in business and government if we want to win the investment in Jersey Plc that we’re competing for,’ she said.

‘If the Island’s finance industry wants to flourish in a fast-changing world, we need to see a more diverse team representing the Island at such events.’

Meanwhile, Pippa Davidson, founder of Lean In Jersey, said that the Island should look to lead the way on diversity and inclusion as an international finance centre.

‘We certainly need those at the forefront and in the public eye to take a moment before events like this to think “how do we reflect the diverse opinions and demonstrate the inclusivity we are striving for” by contributing to this and “who is best placed to do this”,’ she said,

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‘I think we are at a point whereby a bit more action is needed.’

Paul Coleshill, who heads the men’s Lean In circle, added: ‘Too often we witness poor behaviours by those in business and stand by and accept it. By doing this we are sanctioning the wrong behaviours. There is so much good work being undertaken by firms and by other organisations like Lean In and the IoD. As an island we need to collectively be part of the movement of making positive D&I not only a verbal commitment but something we live day in, day out.’

Joe Moynihan, chief executive of Jersey Finance, said that his industry had been represented by those who were ‘available’ to attend the roundtable and that ‘invitee lists can be difficult to control’.

‘Best endeavours were taken at the time and while we will take this feedback on board for our future planning and promotion, we are unable to dictate attendees for such an event,’ he said.

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‘Jersey Finance is a diverse and inclusive organisation, having been recently accredited with the Good Business Charter and our signing of the IoD’s diversity and inclusion charter.’

Meanwhile, Assistant Chief Minister Richard Buchanan, who is leading the government’s work on diversity and inclusion, said that the government ‘remains committed to valuing diversity, inclusion and equality of opportunity’ in its workforce.

‘For instance, we collect basic diversity information from applicants for jobs to monitor trends, understand if our attraction methods encourage a diversity of applicants and inform changes to our recruitment policies and practices,’ he said.

‘We are also using the analysis from last year’s gender-pay-gap review to enhance gender equality in our workforce so that we can achieve wider diversity by targeting the barriers to progression and by increasing opportunities for employees in under-represented areas of the organisation.’

He added: ‘Clearly it will take time for these changes to be reflected in the make-up of ministers and officers who represent the Island at external events and conferences.

‘This should not, however, be interpreted as a lack of commitment to the principles of diversity and inclusion.’

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
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