We were lucky enough to have Kathleen Middlemiss pop into our offices for a quick chat. The importance of diversity in recruitment at UBS was a hot topic. And she hinted at how women can get ahead in the workplace.
Tell us about yourself and your role at UBS?
I'm a Managing Director, and the Global Head of Credit Strategy Research. I also head up the EMEA D&I Council. I'm originally from New York but I've worked at UBS for over 15 years in offices around the world, including London, Johannesburg and of course, New York.
Tell us about the Diversity Council you sit on? What objectives have you set for this year?
Our main objective has been the retention of women and BAME employees. We do this through motivation, promotion and focus on a specific recruitment strategy.
What has been the Diversity Council’s biggest achievement so far?
I would say our recruitment at junior level. We've been able to reach out to undergraduates on campus, getting out there and meeting students to tell them about careers and the opportunities at UBS. We manage to reach a diverse audience and get a good mix of candidates.
Can you talk through any specific programs/schemes that have been put in place to help women in the workplace?
We provide our juniors with a mentor who is their contact outside of their line management to widen their network. The entire network is responsible for juniors to be given the right support.
At a mid-level we have a more advanced programme which takes place outside the office environment. There is opportunity for 1-2-1 coaching with an external coach and also group sessions to raise their profiles.
We also have a shared parental leave policy and give people a parental buddy for further support.
What have you seen UBS do to be more diverse and inclusive?
We have a line manager training programme, which includes Unconscious Bias Training. We hire a number of actors who come into role-playing sessions to make us realise the unconscious bias we have and making sure that our hiring decisions are not based on whether we 'like' someone. This can be very eye-opening to people going through the training and has made a positive impact on recruitment.
What advice would you offer female members on how to get ahead in their career?
Make sure that you have a mentor and a sponsor and commit to build a professional network. This network may well be outside your own team. When you are building your relationship with your mentor or sponsor, make sure you bring something to the table. Offer up something that shows how you can make a difference, show your network that you share a two-way relationship. Put 'expand my network' on your to-do list. But really, it should always be in your action pile.
Find out more about UBS and their opportunities right here.