8 March, 2017

Supporting gender equality, from Carl's perspective

Carl is our IT Director, accountable for the delivery and operation of all systems across M&S. This is no small task, considering the size of our business and how driven we are by technology. In his role, Carl works with many different people, and believes that gender does not determine ability. He has worked in IT for 25 years, has been married to his wife, Michelle, for just as long and the couple have two daughters.

What brought me to M&S was the opportunity to make a difference at such an iconic and admired company. Whilst sometimes very challenging, my time here has been exciting and inspiring. I’ve worked in all areas of technology and M&S has given me the opportunity to bring that experience at a very exciting time for both retail and technology. With the growth of e-commerce, smartphones and all forms of digital devices now present a great opportunity for experiences for both customers and colleagues.

I’ve worked with a lot of people during my career, learning from them along the way. I strongly believe that great teams are made up of a good mix of talent and experience. It seems obvious to me that if that’s the case, it should mean that gender is irrelevant. There should naturally be both men and women on every team. I’ve been very lucky to have worked with many brilliant people through my career and my experience it that both genders can be very successful.

I strongly believe that we are all equal, we all have a right to be here, to contribute and to progress. Individuals should be rewarded based on their skills, experiences, values and the contribution they bring to the team. That’s why I think M&S has some of the best people of anywhere because there is a real equality when it comes to career opportunities here.

However we can’t rest on our laurels. We have a long way to go. In retail, we have a very good gender mix, however, in my own department, the representation is not as balanced. When I first joined the company my whole leadership team was male, I quickly made clear that we needed to change that. We’ve made some progress, we now have three of eight members of the team who are female, but I still think we can do better.

I don’t believe in hiring people just to get the right gender balance. What I do want to see is more prominent female talent receiving the support they need to rise to the top. Arming good people with confidence and developing their skills. I see that as part of my responsibility as a Director and part of why I’m proud to be at M&S. I know that the words, thoughts and feelings I have expressed here are not just my own, they’re shared by the whole company. 

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