Martin Wassell

Taking a flexible, family approach toward gender equality works, says Chaucer Managing Director Martin Wassell

One of a series of profiles on business executives leading gender equality efforts in the workplace 


Gender equality at Chaucer Group Ltd. is a family affair, says Martin Wassell, its managing director.

The global consulting company pays close attention to what employees need, like flexibility and a good work-life balance, and that draws top talent, whether they are  female or male, Wassell told the United Nations Global Compact.

For example, Chaucer offers job interviews at different times of day or in the evening, providing more opportunity for women, who tend more often than men to be caring for children, he said.

It makes sure to have a reasonable balance of men and women at multiple stages of the interviewing, hiring and promotions processes, and it offered remote work options years before COVID made it a necessity.

“We have a good work-life balance,” said Wassell, 50. “We’ve always had a sort of family approach.”

The gender balance of employees at the London-based firm, which offers services to companies moving into the realm of digital enterprises, has been close to 50% men and 50% women, and it is making progress reaching that balance across its internal levels, he said.

“Where we still need to keep working is our gender pay gap,” he said, adding that the company has halved that pay gap in the past 12 months.

Gender equality plays an intricate part in Chaucer’s view of sustainability, which is not only about the planet but about people, said Wassell, who cites among his influences the book “Doughnut Economics” by Kate Raworth, coursework in sustainable finance at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the work of the UN Global Compact.

“It’s about social capital. It’s about human capital as much as it is around natural capital,” he said.

“Obviously that’s an area where we can have a big impact on our own business and also on our clients,” the executive added. “As a business, it's going to help us be more successful, and ultimately it’s going to help our clients be more successful.”

Clients, he said, are seeking diversity, gender balance and other aspects of sustainability in their corporate partners, he said.

“They have a different view of the world,” he said. “If your business isn't trying to move your organization that way, you’re ultimately doomed to failure, I think.”

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