The finance industry is not quick enough at getting women into management positions, according to Santander’s Executive Chair Ana Botin.
“They’re getting better, but not fast enough,” Botin said in an interview with CNBC’s Charlotte Reed last week.
Botin said there are steps that financial institutions can take to ensure that women can secure top roles in the sector.
“For example, ensuring that we can have career plans for women, not just in support functions, but on the business side, making sure we rotate the roles faster, which tend to be occupied by men,” Botin said.
The process of rotating roles around more often means that women can get the flexibility of experience they need to get to the top, she said.
“So basically having some kind of rule or incentive … so that you move people around faster so that women can have experiences that allow them to get to the top,” she added.
Santander has equality targets in place to try to redress the gender imbalance across the industry, which at the time of the interview included putting 30% of its women in leadership roles. That figure has since been updated to 35%.
“We’re making a huge effort but we have to do it the right way,” Botin told CNBC.
“But we also have to accelerate and so we’re putting in place plans to actually make that happen faster,” Botin added.
Ana Botin was unanimously appointed Santander’s executive chair in 2014 and has since been described as one of the most powerful women in European banking.
A 2021 survey undertaken by the London School of Economics found that women in financial services in the U.K. capital struggle if they do not perform “consistently well,” while “mediocre” men are said to be surviving in high numbers.
Global research from audit firm Deloitte in 2022 said that women held 21% of board seats within financial services institutions, 19% of C-suite roles, and 5% of CEO positions.