Employers in Solihull have pledged their support to improve inclusion in the boardroom.
Nearly 50 senior leaders from local organisations joined a business breakfast event this morning for the launch of the Inclusive Leadership Pledge in Solihull.
The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has introduced the pledge to encourage employers to try to make their leadership more representative of the region.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street (front, third from left) is pictured at the event with members of Solihull BID and Solihull Chamber of Commerce, showing their support for the Inclusive Leadership Pledge
The keynote speaker at the event was Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair Andy Street, who welcomed support for the pledge and urged more organisations to sign up.
The Mayor said: “One of the biggest strengths of this region is our diversity – but many boardrooms are missing out on fresh talent and a better understanding of market opportunities and innovation due to a lack of inclusion.
“Signing the Inclusive Leadership Pledge is a great way for organisations in Solihull to tackle this and to prove their commitment to try to improve diversity in their leadership.
“There are various ways for businesses to improve their diversity, including through reviewing recruitment, establishing targeted mentoring schemes for colleagues and young people, or sharing their own best practice with other employers.”
Robert Elliot, director of sales – Hogarths Solihull and Hogarths Stone Manor, and president of Solihull Chamber of Commerce, said: “Solihull Chamber of Commerce is made up of 290 member businesses and organisations, as well as many associated groups.
“The Inclusive Leadership Pledge has shown today that by working together in a planned and considered way, examples of best practice can be employed to make significant changes in various organisations. We will strive now to work towards greater understanding, and commitment to change.”
The event was organised by the WMCA, Solihull Business Improvement District (BID) and Solihull Chamber of Commerce. The panel included Eman Mowatt, one of the members of the Young Combined Authority (YCA).
The Inclusive Leadership Pledge was created in partnership with business in response to the WMCA Leadership Commission’s final report (June 2018), which evidenced that the region’s leadership fails to reflect the diversity of its communities.
Since the report, the WMCA has made its own pledge commitment and created a new portfolio for inclusive communities – to deliver on the Leadership Commission’s recommendations and embed inclusion across its workstreams.
Cllr Brigid Jones, deputy leader of Birmingham City Council and WMCA portfolio holder for inclusive communities, said: “Half of the West Midlands population are women, a third are from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds and a fifth have a disability. These groups are all significantly under-represented at the top of organisations.
“It’s really important that we challenge ourselves and other employers in the West Midlands to make sure people from all walks of life and all backgrounds can make it to the top. As well as being the right thing to do, inclusion makes good business sense.”
The WMCA’s pledge is to strive for 40% of its senior managers to be women within the next five years.
Businesses and organisations can find out more about the Inclusive Leadership Pledge and make their pledge at: www.wmca.org.uk/inclusive-leadership-pledge