Podcast: Croatia’s Željka Majher says central banks should set diversity goals

Director of HR at the Croatian National Bank says numerical gender targets may not be the way to go

Zeljka Majher
Željka Majher, director of human resources, Croatian National Bank

Central banks should consider setting gender diversity goals, according to Željka Majher, director of human resources at the Croatian National Bank.

The central bank is doing better than most. Earlier this year, Sandra Švaljek was appointed deputy governor of the Croatian National Bank. In the same round of appointments, Martina Drvar was made a vice-governor; both women serve on the central bank’s board.

“It is important to have these women to act as role models. It tells young women that anything is possible,” Majher says in CB On Air’s latest Womenomics podcast.

The central bank is a rarity among its Eurosystem counterparts, in that it enjoys the benefits of having numerous women among its senior ranks. But the central bank has a different problem to most of the financial world – it has a minority of men.


Currently, the demographic of the central bank is 66% women, 34% men. Some would argue the gender split is not a surprise, given that a similar ratio appears when you look at figures for economics graduates. Croatia’s general population also has an excess of females (52%).

“We do not have any specific policies to target diversity… we just focus on ensuring we are hiring the right people,” Majher says.

Gender targets have been implemented by a number of large central banks, the European Central Bank and Bank of England included, to try and combat a shortage of female economists.

“I think targets are a good idea, but the focus should be on a goal,” Majher says. Rather than targeting a specific percentage or number of women in roles, Croatia’s HR director believes central banks should focus on ensuring the candidate pool is as diverse as possible.

In recent years, the central bank has seen a decline in applicants to its positions. As part of its latest HR strategy, it hopes to launch a scholarship for undergraduates. It is also going to begin an outreach programme with universities and schools to ensure economics and central banking is a career people consider from a younger age.


00:00 Intro

02:15 Diversity in recruiting

05:30 Improving the gender split

08:00 Investing in skill development

12:30 Outreach programmes

15:40 Goals for 2019

To hear the full interview, listen in the player above, or download. Future podcasts in our CB On Air: Womenomics series will be uploaded to centralbanking.com. You can also visit the main page here.  

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