Companies with richer human resource diversity perform better financially. I am not making that up. Dame Vivian Hunt described it in detail in our Corporate Magazine RED, when she spoke about the “Delivering through Diversity” report published by McKinsey: “Having more women on executive teams correlates the strongest and consistently positively with the likelihood of financial outperformance.” So mixed teams make sense for more than just the sake of equal rights and opportunities. But why is that? I think a diverse workforce drives innovation and gives you a competitive advantage — and that leads to an impact on financial performance. At SIX we are driving the transformation of financial markets. Only if we increase our ability to innovate can we succeed, so we need to strengthen diversity. Therefore, our Executive Board has committed to growing the percentage of women at each middle and top management level to a minimum of 25% by 2023.
But a mere number doesn’t mean much. Much more important are the concrete measures we take to achieve this, and we must start at different levels. As a technology company, it is of course particularly important to us that we are seen as an attractive choice by women interested in IT professions. And for this to happen we must start very early on. That’s why this year we held the SIX “Girls 4 IT” day for the first time. The “Girls 4 IT” day playfully introduces schoolgirls to information technology, takes a look behind the façade of bits and bytes, and emphasizes that IT isn’t just mathematics, but also a lot of team work. It is also equally important that women are encouraged to increasingly step into the spotlight and share and pass on their experiences to encourage other women to follow their path. Within SIX we have a women’s network, which organizes educational events to learn from each other and promotes networking. I am also proud that for the second consecutive year a woman from SIX has won the Vendor Professional of the Year award for outstanding performance. Last year’s recipient was Tamsin Hobley, Head Sales UK & Ireland, and this year the recognition went to Amy Ross, Head International IT Services, at the Women in Technology & Data Awards. And I am also proud that after Tamsin Hobley, Head Sales UK & Ireland, for the second time in a row a woman from SIX wins the “Vendor Professional of the Year” award for an outstanding performance. This year Amy Ross, Head International IT Services was recognized at the “Women in Technology & Data Awards”.
As a modern and open-minded employer, we should go beyond merely asking women whether or not they want the position, and ask “How can we make it happen?” For example, we offer job-sharing and part-time roles, including leadership roles, and fill at least 30% of the seats in leadership programs with women. Of course there is still a long way to go, and there is no single solution, but I very much want to encourage and inspire all women on this International Women’s Day with this year’s theme #EachforEqual.
Jos Dijsselhof joined SIX in 2018 as CEO. He holds degrees in computer science and business administration, and has a long track record in international management in the financial sector. He has previously held positions at ABN Amro Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and ANZ Australia & New Zealand Banking Group in various countries including Hong Kong and Singapore. Before joining SIX he was Chief Operating Officer (2014–June 2017) and CEO ad interim (2015) at Euronext in Amsterdam.