Santander UK chairman: We can attract more women employees by changing the language in job ads

Banks can attract more women employees by changing the language used in job ads, according to Shriti Vadera, chairman at Santander UK.

Speaking at the FT Women at the Top event in London, Vadera pointed out that banks’ job ads can appear biased against women, putting them off.

“I would say that the fashion [in talking about gender equality] is about women leaning in and having more confidence, and I accept that as the truth for some,” said Vadera.

“However I would say that men apply for jobs when they think they are 100% qualified when in fact they are 60% qualified. Women are the other way around. There is enough research that shows that [greater gender equality and diversity in the supply chain] works [in making a company more successful].

“Banks, companies can look at how they choose to advertise for a job. For example, some certain types of language can be off-putting, like using ‘ambitious,’ ‘dominant,’ and ‘competitive.'”

Vadera isn’t just the chairman of one of the biggest banks in Britain, she also advises governments and investors on strategy, finance and restructuring, which includes advising the government of Korea on its role as Chair of the G20.

She added that “there is no silver bullet, otherwise it would have been fired. We need to work at a macro-level and [company] level” to get more women into work and senior positions for great gender diversity. And one of the ways may be quotas at companies.

“I am very late and reluctant convert [of gender quotas at companies]. But we set targets for productivity in companies, targets for management, and company targets for the short-term,” Vadera added.

Earlier on Thursday, Britain’s secretary of state for education and minister for women and equality said at the same FT event that “no country can truly develop if it locks out half its population.”

“Getting more women participating in work is not just good for them, but critical for UK economy. Businesses need to use their organisations, their networks, and client relationships” in ensuring greater gender equality at their companies,” she added.

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