Tracy Elizabeth Fletcher, managing director of Campbell & Fletcher Recruitment, explains why peer-to-peer lending platforms should act now to build out their teams and improve diversity…
The covid-19 pandemic has created a great opportunity for alternative finance companies to hire new staff and improve their diversity in line with the Women in Finance Charter (WIFC). A rolling wave of redundancies has created a glut of talent in financial services recruitment, while many peer-to-peer lending platforms and other alternative lenders are simultaneously experiencing increased levels of activity due to the demand for government-backed business loans and other business funding.
This means that “now is the ideal time to recruit,” says Tracy Elizabeth Fletcher, managing director of Campbell & Fletcher Recruitment.
“The candidates in the marketplace are genuinely really good candidates, because it’s the situation that put them there and not their own performance,” she adds. “If P2P lending platforms are experiencing high volumes of lending now, that’s not going to go away any time soon so now’s a good time to bolster their teams and balance out that diversity gap.”
Campbell & Fletcher Recruitment is one of the few recruitment firms that have signed up to the WIFC to date, and Fletcher is passionate about female representation in the financial services sector.
Fletcher herself was a banker for 20 years, while her business partner Alison Campbell spent 19 years working at a major bank. Their experience inspired them to branch out and establish the first female-led financial services recruitment firm in the UK. “Alison and I know what it’s like to be female in the financial services sector,” says Fletcher. “When we’ve thrived, it’s been because we had specific support and when we’ve not thrived it’s been because we felt lonely.
“There are times when you feel you’re being patronised as a woman. And even in recruitment I still feel a bit patronized. We found the ‘old boys’ network in financial services recruitment to be quite difficult to break down until we were able to produce a track record.”
This track record includes launching a business in 2008 – at the peak of the last financial crisis – and weathering that storm while working closely with major banks such as HSBC, Lloyds, and Santander, before expanding to include challenger banks such as Shawbrook and Metro, and alternative finance providers.
Over the past few years, Fletcher has “absolutely” noticed an improvement in female representation in the financial services sector. However, there is still a long way to go. For a start, all firms should be committed to accepting only the most diverse groups of candidates from their recruiters, she says.
“Statistically, good candidates are more likely to join a company that’s got a diverse workplace and has a diverse workplace policy,” says Fletcher.
“Set your diversity shortlist, be mindful of the gender pay gap when hiring, and regularly review your diversity statistics so that they are not creeping away from you.
“And in an interview process, make sure that the interview panel has female and male representation, but not token female representation. “Be genuine about being committed to the WIFC if you are a member.
“We have a wealth of talent now available,” she adds. “And P2P platforms have a unique opportunity to prioritise gender diversity while building up highly skilled teams, ready to lead the post-Covid financial recovery.”