Rania Llewellyn, the first woman CEO of a major Canadian bank, believes that diversity and inclusion programs in financial institutions should not only be about recruiting diverse talent, but also about retaining qualified women as they move up the ranks.
The remarks last week came as a new report from DBRS Morningstar revealed that the Big Six have proven better than Australian and US banks on the issue of attracting, retaining, and developing women into high-level positions.
However, the same report showed that Canada’s largest banks are on average still behind the three main Australian banks when it comes to gender pay equity.
Llewellyn was appointed to the helm of Laurentian Bank of Canada last October. During her tenure, she wrote diversity and inclusion targets along with the financial targets that the board has to aim for.
The introduction of these targets could help prevent a repeat of the less-than-ideal situation that Llewellyn went through early in her career.
“I remember, there was a vacant job. I was ready to go for it. I was trained,” Llewellyn recounted. “And [the manager] said, ‘I’m looking for a man and I’m looking for someone who’s older.’ And this was going to be my new boss. Right? So, I would say there’s lots of those little stories along the way.”