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The gender gap - women in Banking & Financial Services

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Although it’s 2015, women seem to be still making slow progress in rising to top positions in the workplace. According to the 30 Percent Club, an organisation created to encourage FTSE 100 boards to become 30% female, the statistics of women holding senior executive positions are at just 5.5%. To back it up, a recent report run by the ‘Counting Women In’ coalition published Sex and Power 2013: Who Runs Britain?, states that our country is still largely run by men.

 

There is definitely a major diversity problem for most companies particularly in Banking and Financial Services. The number of women holding senior positions is extremely low in this sector. The UK’s economic recovery has driven lots of improvements in female labour force participation and reduced female unemployment. But data from 20 global markets shows women comprise nearly 60% of employees in the financial services industry and only 19% of them progress through the leadership ranks to senior level roles.

 

So why are the majority of women in Banking and Finance in lower level positions when compared to men?

 

With the industry having traditionally a macho reputation, there is a stereotype that men are better suited to work in Banking and Financial Services because they are more willing to take risks, are more assertive and thrive in competitive environments.

 

Over the years, women have become stronger and more confident in their abilities but there is still a huge gender gap in the city. With challenging working hours and demanding expectations, it is a fact that women drop off the career ladder as they hit motherhood. Having said that, there is hope that this will change in the near future as new paternity measures have been implemented by the government to allow men to take paid leave and spend more time with their new family.

 

So, to some extent, women make the choice themselves but the ones who do choose career over family and make it into finance/banking leadership positions are being paid less than their male counterparts.

 

The benefits of having female senior executives

 

Global research conducted by Credit Suisse, Catalyst and McKinsey & Co. examined the return on sales, invested capital and equity of Fortune 500 companies. The study confirmed that companies with women on their boards of directors outperform those with the least number of women by significant margins.

 

Lloyds Banking Group has realised this and pledged to have 40% of its senior roles filled by women by 2020. Some other companies have also started to take this into consideration, implementing certain measures like flexible working environments or paternity benefits to help women succeed in both their personal and professional life.

 

While it is evident a number of Banks and Financial Services institutions are trying hard to close the gender gap and there has been some positive headway made in recent years, it is still clear there is a lot more to be done.

 

To find out more about ways to nurture female talent within the Banking and Financial Services join us at the Investigo’s Females in Financial Services event which will take place on Wednesday 10th June 2015. For more details and to RSVP, please contact Hayley Downing on Hayley.downing@investigo.co.uk.

 

Eunice covers Finance and Audit positions across Banking & Financial Services on both permanent and contract basis. If you would like to get in touch, please contact Eunice on eunice.lim@investigo.co.uk or +44 (0) 20 3009 3478.

 

Eunice Lim
Posted by Eunice Lim
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