Signet CEO strives for equality across entire company

One of the world’s largest jewellery and watch groups has made leaps forward to fostering an environment of equality within its business.

The chief executive of Signet, which owns UK jewellery retailers H Samuel and Ernest Jones, is looking to promote an inclusive culture within its workforce after being accused of discrimination.

The company’s equality drive forms a key part of its recently revealed a three-pillar plan, dubbed ‘The Path to Brilliance’. The plan was introduced in a bid to reinvigorate the group and prepare it for a future with fewer, higher quality, stores operating in tight alignment with an improved digital presence.

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Chief executive officer Virginia Drosos, who joined Signet in August last year, told Yahoo Finance that a key part of Signet’s mission to transform the company’s culture is creating an inclusive workforce.

“I have a track record throughout my career of building diverse teams and highly inclusive culture, so it’s very important to me that Signet lead in this area,” the chief exec told the publication.

She adds: “I’ve reviewed all the data and I can say that now I’m very confident that we pay women equally for equal jobs with the same experience. We are really building a culture of diversity, inclusion, [and] respect. This is part of our transformation.”

When the gender pay gap of companies with more than 250 employees was revealed last month, Signet posted a gender pay gap of 20.4%, just above the national average but below the average of the major retail jeweller groups tracked by Professional Jeweller.

A statement accompanying the report of Signet’s data co-signed by UK executive director Emma Hayward and UK finance director Shaun Carney echoes the CEO’s claim that all employees doing the same job are paid equally.

“We believe that the pay gap is the result of the make-up of our workforce. We are confident that men and women are paid on equal terms for doing the same or similar jobs across the business,” the statement revealed, alongside a pledge to make the pay gap smaller.

During the interview with Yahoo Finance, Drosos revealed company-wide 75% of Signet’s employees are women and 68% of the field leadership positions are filled by females.

“I think women need to be put in crucible roles where they can really test their skills and learn as they go so that they can rise to those higher level positions,” shared Drosos.

“Diverse teams make better decisions. They see each other’s blindspots. I think it’s true on working teams just as much as it is on boards. So, first and foremost, we want to get great executives on our board that have tremendous experience.

“That’s part of what we want to do is transform our culture so fabulous executives, who are also women, that will bring that diversity and help us see our blindspots.”

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