Revealed: Top male Agents of Change tackling gender inequality in the workplace

The Women’s Business Council and Management Today have today revealed the top businessmen challenging the status quo and promoting gender equality in workplaces across the UK.

The Agents of Change power list, now in its second year, celebrates the male leaders who are supporting women in business, driving gender equality initiatives, and shattering glass ceilings. Over 200 men were nominated from a range of sectors, including technology, the financial services, and healthcare.

Nominations were judged by Management Today’s head of content Kate Bassett alongside Hilary Spencer, director of the Government Equalities Office; Richard Robinson of Econsultancy; and Denis Woulfe, member of the Women’s Business Council and former vice chair of Deloitte.

This announcement comes just before the April deadline for large employers across all sectors to publish the differences between what they pay their male and female staff in average salaries and bonuses. This new gender pay gap mandatory reporting requirement is part of wider work the government is doing to support women in the workplace.

This includes £5m to increase returner programmes, offering 30 hours of free childcare, and introducing shared parental leave and new rights to request flexible working. There is also extensive cross-government work to get more women into the top jobs at the UK’s biggest companies and to get more girls taking science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at school.

Kate Bassett, head of content at Management Today, said:

“We can’t achieve equality without involving men. That’s why Management Today has teamed up with the Women’s Business Council for a second year to publish the Agents of Change power list. We want to shine the spotlight on the army of male leaders who are doing fantastic things to champion women in the workplace. And we want to encourage more men to #PressForProgress.”

Denis Woulfe, member of the Women’s Business Council and Agents of Change judge, said:

“Business leaders have a key role to play in delivering the cultural change required to achieve true diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This power list is a fantastic way to acknowledge some of those men who are already doing great things and I hope it inspires even more men to get involved and help us to eliminate the gender pay gap. It is not just the right thing to do but the smart thing to do.”

This year’s Agents of Change winners include Matt Elliott, who joined Virgin Money as people director in 2011. He advocates ‘bringing the outside in’ and has set an ambitious target of a 50/50 gender split at all levels by 2020. Schemes include equalising maternity pay for parental leave (40% of fathers now take extended leave); matching flexible working practices of prospective senior candidates; launching a free ‘Women in Finance’ app to promote best practice; and running maternity mentoring. Virgin Money voluntarily reported its gender pay gap in 2016 and was the first FTSE 350 firm to report under the new rules.

From the engineering sector, the list once again recognises Mott MacDonald’s group MD Mike Haigh who introduced unconscious bias training for Mott MacDonald leaders – and has now included it in the standard induction for all new joiners. Haigh used his position as last year’s chair of the Association for Consulting and Engineering to promote gender diversity across the entire industry.

The full list includes:

Toby Allen Creative Partner (joint nomination) AMV BBDO
Jim Hilson Creative Partner (joint nomination) AMV BBDO
Marc Allera CEO EE
Yann Borgstedt President and Founder The Womanity Foundation
Roger Carr Chairman BAE Systems
Ian Cheshire Chairman Debenhams PLC
Gary Coombe President P&G Europe
James Cowles Chief Executive Officer for EMEA Citi
John Cridland Chair Transport for North
David Cruickshank Global chairman DTTL Deloitte
Matt Elliott People Director Virgin Money
Daniele Fiandaca Co-founder Token Man
Rod Flavell CEO FDM Group
Paul Frampton-Calero CEO Ex Havas
Paul Geddes CEO Direct Line Group
Mike Haigh Group managing director Mott MacDonald
Sir Philip Hampton Non executive chairman GSK
David Hynam CEO Bupa UK
Stephen Kelly CEO SAGE
Andrew Lawson Executive Vice President EMEA Salesforce
Ivan Menezes Chief Executive Diageo
David Morgan Director of Flight Operations easyJet
Jaymin Patel CEO Brightstar Corp
Paul Pester CEO TSB Banking Group
Ian Rand CEO Barclays Business
Russ Shaw Founder Tech London Advocates
Karl Simpson CEO Liftstream
Chris Stylianou Chief Operating Officer Sky
James Taylor CEO UK & Ireland Sodexo Healthcare
Roger Whiteside CEO Greggs
Mark Wilson CEO Aviva

@MT_Women @WomenEqualities #AgentsofChange

Notes to editors:

Media contact: Kate Bassett, head of content, Management Today:

Women’s Business Council: The Women’s Business Council was set up in 2012 to advise Government on how women’s contribution to growth can be optimised. The aim has been to focus on areas with the greatest potential economic benefit and on recommendations with a clear economic case for action.

Management Today: With content ranging from entrepreneur profiles and interviews with top bosses, to career tips and opinion pieces from the world’s best-selling business authors, Management Today is the entertaining and educational digital resource for the modern manager:

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