Navigating the race and gender divide with Mary Agbesanwa
It is important to recognise that there now needs to be a shift in the mindset of senior leadership figures in order to bolster teams, improve diversity and provide a platform for employees to grow and achieve successes within their industry. As Mary explains, the onus is no longer just on the employee to mould their pathway. “People, regardless of their gender, should be afforded opportunities to excel and be in leadership positions. This should not always be women putting themselves forward, for example, this also needs to be organisations actively seeking out top talent.”
To make change happen, then, it is now time for organisations to take steps to identify rising talent and support this rise to more senior positions.
Mary has also contributed to PwC’s Ethnicity Pay Gap Reporting report, led the delivery of a Colour Brave training session to over 500 colleagues and pioneered PwC’s staff-run peer mentoring circles where staff support each other with career guidance. Her commitment to actioning change is both passionate and commanding.
Within the professional services industry, she has noticed that there has been an improvement in the representation of ethnic minority individuals in the UK. “The challenge continues to be concerning progression and ensuring that most if not all ethnic minorities can succeed beyond entry-level positions,” she said.
“Access to opportunities and resources is really important in professional services, and across a wide array of sectors and functions. There is a lot of work that needs to be done to align universities and schools with the graduate programmes and entry-level positions that are available within larger organisations.