People at the forefront of ongoing FD success story

Elizabeth Toner (left) and Catherine Harrison from First Derivatives, one of the business partners in this year's Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards. Photo: Declan Roughan
Emma Deighan

NEWRY-headquartered company First Derivatives has an international reputation for its software, consultancy services and intellectual capabilities in the global financial market. It's a highly skilled service and product portfolio that is paralleled by its forward-thinking and progressive staff engagement and employee ethics.

Set up in 1996 in Co Armagh, FD now has 15 offices across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific where it nurtures its high-achieving team of 2,600 staff, 850 of which are based in NI.

It does this through a hearty programme of benefits and initiatives that have ensured staff are supported, encouraged, connected and progressing in the workplace.

Elizabeth Toner, VP global talent at First Derivatives says people are at the forefront of the business' success story.

“We have always been aware that our people are especially vital to the success of our business. First Derivatives prides itself on continuing to maintain a team and family ethos right across the company. We truly are a people business, and we recognise that our greatest asset is our people,” she said.

To stimulate its workforce, programmes and initiatives including FD Pride, FD Women's Network, Mind Matters and a schedule of vibrant social events offer employees an opportunity to connect and support one another, building an all-inclusive working environment that breeds productivity and career fulfilment at the firm.

FD's strong workplace integrity further echoes in its staff development programmes and its Option Graduate programme which provides a unique opportunity for graduates to kick-start their career, continue developing their skills and travel all at once.

This programme combines technology and finance training so that FD consultants “become experts in both” says Elizabeth.

It's a unique training format that mixes six to eight weeks of classroom style training with around 20 months of travel and onsite practical experience in some of the world's financial centres including New York City, London and Sydney.

Inclusivity is another asset that is high up the agenda at FD, which is developing a female mentoring programme, with board level support, in a bid to aid induction into the company, provide support and career guidance to help with female retention and further strengthen its reputation as a hotbed of female talent in leadership roles.

“Diversity and inclusivity is a critical part of our overall people strategy,” Elizabeth continues.

“In line with our aim of encouraging pro-active recruitment as an equal opportunities employer, in the last three years FD has recruited and trained almost double the national average of female graduates.

“We actively promote diversity and have maintained a gender ratio of 70 per cent male and 30 per cent female, well ahead of the industry in which we operate, but we still want to further improve this ratio.

“Given the majority of our staff enter at the graduate level, we have put a specific focus on our gender split in our Options Programme intakes and we are delighted to share that last year we achieved 42 per cent female/58 per cent male gender split.”

The launch of FD IMPACT, a female mentorship programme for university students keen to gain an insight into the working world of tech, is also boosting the firm's drive for equality. It is expected to launch later in the year.

FD has also joined Diversity Mark NI, which will continue to champion its dedication to ensuring a diverse workforce is at the forefront of its operations. It has recently received the Bronze Award Charter.

It's the FD's prominent stature in the tech world, paired with its progressive drive to ensure its workplace is diverse, engaged and informed, that will ensure FD continues its upward trajectory of success.

:: Entries for the 2020 Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards will remain open until Tuesday April 28 with the finalists being announced on Thursday May 14. More details at Follow us on Twitter at @irishnewsWEA

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