Stewart Carmichael, Chief Technology Officer at Schroders, has more than 25 years’ experience in the investment management and banking industry.
Since joining the Group Management Committee at Schroders, Stewart has placed a focus on transformation and innovation. Before joining Schroders Stewart was CTO for JP Morgan Corporate & Investment Bank in Asia, and held various senior leadership positions during 16 years at Merrill Lynch.
Stewart has lived in New York, Singapore and Hong Kong. He’s currently based in London.
Why do you support the HeForShe campaign? For example – do you have a daughter or have witnessed the benefits that diversity can bring to a workplace?
I’ve certainly witnessed the advantages of a diverse workforce of all kinds in my career. Having worked extensively in the UK, US, and Asia, I’ve seen how diversity in different contexts leads to a greater diversity of thought – and that is always a positive thing in any business. My mother was my role model in choosing a career in IT. She worked in the IT industry from the 70s to the 90s at companies such as ICL and Marconi leading large scale projects.
Why do you think it’s important for men to support gender equality in the workplace?
It’s important for all leaders to support gender equality, but given the disproportionate number of men in the IT industry we must actively support gender equality especially. As men in positions of influence we need to recognise the overall benefit to our industry that gender equality brings.
How welcome are men in the gender equality conversation currently?
I’ve always felt that as a man, I’ve been welcomed into the gender equality conversation. Personally, I feel that being part of the dialogue helps me better understand the challenges that need to be overcome.
Do you think groups/networks that include the words “women in…” or “females in…” make men feel like gender equality isn’t really their problem or something they need to help with?
No. Until we have more of a gender balance at all levels, these groups or networks will help women to access peer support. In my experience, they don’t prevent men from actively engaging in the dialogue. On the whole they help men to be aware of the issues and understand their role in addressing the challenges.
What can businesses do to encourage more men to feel welcome enough to get involved in the gender debate?
Businesses can explicitly invite men to join the gender debate as peers and supporters. Men in senior positions also have a role in leading the way through visible support and participation. I’m sure many men would be proud to support daughters, sisters or other female family members, given the opportunity.
Do you currently mentor any women or have you in the past?
I believe in the concept of ‘manager as a coach’ and the agile practices that lead to the ‘servant leader’. Both of these approaches emphasise coaching and mentoring. I have previously had both formal and informal mentoring relationships with women and continue to give advice to past employees.
Have you noticed any difference in mentoring women – for example, are women less likely to put themselves forward for jobs that are out of their comfort zones or are women less likely to identify senior roles that they would be suited for?
I would say that academic studies have shown this to be the case, but I would also say from experience that I’ve seen women often approach problems in different ways to many men. Businesses benefit from different approaches to problem-solving, which is one reason why we should seek a more diverse workforce.