Inclusion and Diversity

Unlimited is our philosophy, our commitment and our call to action on Inclusion & Diversity.

What we believe in

At Odgers Berndtson, we will always strive for a world of inclusion, diversity, tolerance and acceptance. We believe intolerance is unacceptable and that no one should have to face racism or prejudice in any form. Inclusion and diversity (I&D) is hardwired into our business and, as such, we have made commitments in two areas. The first is to create an inclusive culture and working environment where everyone has a sense of belonging and which ensures equal pay, opportunities and conditions for all. The second is to act on what we believe is our unique responsibility as one of the world’s leading executive search firms and help our clients address their diversity challenges through more inclusive recruitment. Thereby, our goal is to create a more equal playing field for all aspiring leaders around the world.  

Particularly in light of the Black Lives Matter movement, we are committed to using our global voice and network to change social inequality and injustice for good. We have and will always stand with and support our Black colleagues, candidates and clients.

How we’re doing it

We want to improve the level of diversity in all its forms within Odgers Berndtson and create an environment where everyone is comfortable being themselves. To this end, we launched Unlimited – a programme of initiatives that embody our philosophy and our commitments to inclusion and diversity. Internally, it includes our Allies – nine groups of volunteers from around the business whose goal is to ensure no one in Odgers Berndtson faces racism or prejudice, that we actively improve in all areas of diversity, and create an environment where everyone is comfortable being themselves. These groups are Age, Ethnicity, Gender, Disabilities, Mental Health, Menopause, Social Mobility, LGBTQ+ and Neurodiversity.

We have already taken a number of important steps in the right direction. These include improving our family leave policy so that it more effectively meets the needs of all our people, adapting our promotions process to ensure it offers an equal footing for all, and working with partners such as Leonard Cheshire to create an open and inclusive recruitment process (we are a level 2 Disability Confident employer). We produce an annual Gender Pay Gap report which highlights the steps we’ve taken in the areas of recruitment, internal progression and salary monitoring, and makes recommendations for further action to ensure we are always improving when it comes to creating a fair and equal environment for men and women.

Externally, Unlimited is also our approach with clients and how, by working with them, we aim to shape the future of leadership into a more diverse field. We challenge our clients to consider the parameters of each role, and actively engage with the broadest range of candidates so that we access the most diverse talent pool and recruit the best people.

Why we’re doing it

Simply put, we believe helping to create fairer and more inclusive societies is not just the right thing to do but is part of our responsibility as a global executive search firm. In fact, the moral case for inclusion and diversity is so irrefutable, that we are focused on the ‘how’, not the ‘why’.

Evidence of this ethos is illustrated by our attainment of the highest government accreditation for search companies on gender diversity – the Executive Search Voluntary Code of Conduct, and placements of some notable firsts across the UK. We are also a signatory to the UK search industry Voluntary Code of Conduct and are accredited under The Enhanced Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms for the FTSE 350. We have also contributed and been keenly involved in the Hampton Alexander Review into female representation in corporate boardrooms and our percentage of female placements at FTSE350 board level (51%) exceeds the target set by his Steering Group for Women on Boards.

What’s more, despite government rules allowing companies to forgo gender pay gap reporting in 2020, we felt that is was critically important to continue to provide transparency and honesty in this area and so have published our 2020 Gender Pay Gap report. 

What we’re proud of

Our CIO & CTO Practice run regular networking lunches for ‘Female Leaders in Technology’. Likewise, our Retail, Consumer, Travel, Leisure & Hospitality Practice runs an annual women’s event for female leaders to network.

Our Sports Practice has developed a partnership with the charity, Women In Sport, focused on improving opportunities for women working in the sports industry, while our Gaming Practice is a strategic partner to the All-in Diversity index, a non-profit business set up to measure and improve diversity across the global gaming industry.

Our Procurement & Supply Chain Practice runs an annual mentoring programme to support diverse future leaders. In 2020 it paired 14 Global CPOs & CSCOs from FTSE companies with up and coming female leaders for a 12-month mentorship.

Our Legal & Professional Services Practice has created a tool in conjunction with our Executive Assessment & Development Practice focused on the psychometric profile of the very best General Counsels in the business. The tool is vital in levelling the playing field and removing bias in the recruitment process.

Our CFO Practice hosts networking Lunches for emerging talent, aspiring to become CFOs, and our People Performance & Culture Practice host a range of events with speakers addressing key areas of inclusion and diversity.

Our Healthcare Practice offers bespoke programmes, including the ‘Leadership Ladder’ aimed at bringing diverse up-and-coming talent to the Board.

Our Industrial Practice uses data to monitor women in leadership. The information is used to demonstrate the market challenges to clients who request a 50% gender diverse shortlist. The initiative also improves the profile of rising talent, especially from U.S. headquartered companies with lower profiles in the U.K.

Through the Rebus Mentoring programme, our Technology Practice provides women who aspire to senior leadership and board roles in technology, with outstanding mentoring, advice and motivation from industry-leading mentors. The Practice also delivers bespoke workshops tailored to individual client needs – for example, the team designed, developed and led a series of half-day workshops for a cohort on BT’s TechWomen Programme.

Our Not-for-Profit Practice host a variety of round table meetings, are regular contributors to the Diversity in Charity leadership group and host the Arts Council Forum on diversity.

And last but certainly not least, our Financial Services Practice provides guidance to firms that want to sign-up to the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter and provide coaching to senior female executives moving into C level or NED roles. Practice members are also active with the City Women’s Network, Women in Banking and Finance, Women in Listed Derivatives, and contribute to the McKinsey women’s leaders’ forum.

To find out more about Unlimited, or if Odgers Berndtson feels like the kind of place you’d like to work, get in touch.

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