4 May, 2018


We’re delighted to have made the list yet again. It says everything about the steps we have taken to champion individual female employees and embrace a more enlightened and progressive approach to gender equality.

Becky is our Diversity & Inclusion Manager, having originally joined M&S as an A-level school leaver on our Commercial Management training scheme. “It’s imperative that all our people feel included whatever their background, wherever they’re from or whatever their gender or sexuality, and are able to pursue their goals – no-one should be held back because of something they cannot change,” she says. “Diversity and inclusion thinking is ever-evolving and it’s great to know that we’re moving forward sufficiently to gain this achievement for the eighth consecutive year.”

As part of her role in driving our D&I initiatives, Becky is heavily involved in our Gender Equality Network. “GEN has made great strides in developing different opportunities for middle managers to mentor and support women looking for promotion at M&S – speed mentoring is just one example.”

GEN runs regular events, particularly around International Women’s Day, which are always well attended and generate positive feedback. These have included Inspiring Speakers events and a series of professional development seminars designed around skills that research shows help women to progress. “These are open to everyone, but our next focus is to further involve men in the discussion and events!” Becky says.

Making the Times Top 50 Employers for Women list involves a comprehensive submission process managed by the gender equality campaign of Business in the Community. We’re convinced that a number of our policies had a bearing on us making the list.

For a start, there is the flexibility and choice of our working arrangements on which so many women place a high premium. Our part-time hours, job sharing and term-time working arrangements are tailored to helping working mothers return to the workplace.

The opportunity to take an unpaid career break of up to nine months comes in handy for our people at many different stages in life, whether they’re wanting to see more of the world, get more in touch with themselves, pursue a passion or fulfil a lifetime ambition.

We provide paid time off work for women undergoing IVF treatment and those being assessed to become foster or adoptive parents. Then there’s our 24-hour confidential helpline that they can call so they have the peace of mind in knowing there is always someone there they can reach out to, in whatever circumstances they find themselves.

Together, these reveal the degree of thought that goes into making sure the support we give all of our female colleagues is as comprehensive as possible.

Inside M&S