The majority of respondents were aged between 35 and 54. Forty seven percent had dependent children and 17% had other dependents. The voices reflected in the 2018 results were those of women who have dedicated a significant part of their career to the treasury profession, with more than half holding a treasury role for over ten years. Respondents outlined for the first time what the term diversity means to them. Here are some examples:
‘Diversity means the freedom to bring your full self to work, not having to feel you have to excuse yourself for who you are.’ ‘If our work culture is not inclusive, we never achieve diversity. Diversity is perceiving difference; inclusion is valuing it.’
On the topic of gender parity regarding pay and opportunities, 49% of respondents said they felt they earnt less than their male counterparts. Only 5% felt there had been improvements in pay parity over the past year and over a quarter of respondents have felt overlooked and ignored in the workplace because of their gender.
The welcome reception was followed by a three-course lunch in the sumptuous Crescent Ballroom, during which the panel discussion took place on stage with our leading industry speakers. The dynamic and insightful debate was moderated by Sophie Jackson and featured our superb line up of influential panellists with a wide-ranging set of experiences from across the industry.
Our panellists were Catherine Yu, VP Regional Controller APAC & China, Herbalife Nutrition, Lay Perk Toh, Corporate Treasurer, Kulicke & Soffa, Yeng Butler, Senior Managing Director and Global Head of Cash Business, State Street Global Advisors and Jason Horn, Head of the Asia Pacific Cash & Short Duration Liquidity Business, BlackRock. The candid and thought-provoking discussion explored the views of the panel on some of the issues highlighted by the respondents of the study and the ongoing challenges to the progress of diversity in our industry, as well as practical career tips and motivational messages for both women and men working in the treasury function today.
Yeng spoke about her beginnings in finance and her wide-ranging experience at Merrill Lynch, where she moved across to asset management. Following ten years at Merrill Lynch and with an interest in the intersection of the public and private sector, instead of pursuing an MBA, Yeng took a Masters in public administration at Harvard. During this time she spent six months in Western Samoa working in microfinance which made low value loans to women who were looking to start small businesses to fund their families and education for their children. For Yeng this was an incredibly rewarding experience. A decade ago, Yeng was recruited back to Boston to build out a global team at State Street Global Advisors and she hasn’t looked back since!
Catherine began her career after studying corporate finance in university. Despite wanting to go into investment banking, her CV suited CPA and after having children she worked for a pharmaceutical company where she learnt the ropes of a corporate multinational environment. Moving to Merck, she took roles in different parts of the finance function and then she moved into treasury before heading across to BT’s APAC office as a Regional Treasurer. Then followed an MBA from Manchester Business School which she finished within 18 months whilst balancing the demands of a family. This drive to build a professional network set her up well to move across to Herbalife Nutrition, where she now manages more than 150 people. ‘Every day you have someone to learn from. Keep that in your suitcase and then you can keep that knowledge and that has really been important.’