Research into the gender gap within financial services carried out by wealth and asset management specialist, Simplify Consulting, has found the glass ceiling is still ‘alive and well’ in the city, with 40% of female professionals admitting they have experienced barriers in the workplace because of their gender.
Key findings in the research include:
- 34% of women in financial services experience regular gender discrimination and 52% are still experiencing gender pay gap.
- 50% of women experienced progression barriers at work linked to life events such as starting a family or menopause.
- 74% felt their employer had not taken satisfactory action after a gender-related issue had been raised.
- 7 out of 10 executive women continue to see men recruit male friends or male colleagues.
- 81% of female students said they either wouldn’t join the financial services sector or didn’t know enough about it to consider it as a career choice.
The research paper, entitled Change Starts with Bravery, was so-called to reflect the overarching theme that came out in the research – that women experience a lack of confidence and a feeling of ‘Imposter Syndrome’ in a male-dominated industry. With gender bias clearly stemming from school days, it is clear that women, companies and male allies within financial services will need to exercise courage in redressing the imbalance that is obviously still present today.
The research examines 3 key areas:
- Education – Including the thoughts of 14-year-olds and their views on gender and financial services as a career choice; and ultimately how you encourage more females into the industry
- Life Events – With 1 in 4 women surveyed in financial services saying maternity leave impeded career progression and a substantial proportion of older female workers already balancing work with caring responsibilities – almost one in four (24%), compared with just over one in eight (13%) male workers.
- How to close the gap – With a view to looking at the need for role models and a better support system; requiring bravery from today’s female role models in the industry and from men in business to challenge the status quo.
In the report, several respondents explained they’ve seen men continue to recruit male friends or male colleagues who exuded a similar image to their own. This can prevent diversity of thought in senior leadership teams, which could further discourage female employees from applying for future positions.
Kate Monserrate, co-founder of Simplify Consulting said, “Gender stereotyping appears to be commonplace leading to just 19% of female students wanting to consider a career in financial services. In the workplace, women are still being overlooked for simply wanting to have a family or going through unavoidable life-changing events like the menopause. The financial services industry is, in the main, inflexible in the face of these events. Something’s got to give … and all too often it’s the career aspirations of women.
“We want to use this moment to call for more change. We need more gender neutrality in the way we talk and write about financial services. Girls need help getting comfortable with money at an early age – and better career advice. But above all we need more female role models in financial services. We need senior women and male allies to put on the cape and be heroes to the next generation.”