Are less women putting themselves forwards for new roles in financial services?

There has been a huge push towards getting more females represented in the financial services industry and towards parity in pay – following the government’s campaign to close the gender pay gap.

But has this achieved enough, and are women being overlooked – or are they not ‘part of the race’?

We believe in ‘meritocracy’ and that people should be judged on their own actions rather than any pre-determined characteristics.

However, alarmingly, we have discovered that our statistics reveal there has been a huge discrepancy in men and women applicants for roles during 2019.

Almost 8/10 of the candidates we interviewed for roles were men. Despite approaches being made to males and females in broadly equal measure, we found that the former was more likely to apply, find out additional information and remain in the loop about opportunities – whether for right now or in the future.

This is a problem because – when we study our data – over 9/10 placements made have resulted in a higher remuneration package, and over 7/10 placements have resulted in a more senior position being attained.

In many countries, women represent nearly half of the financial services industry, according to this Catalyst report. This is encouraging and, while the UK employed 43% of females in this sector in 2018, our nation was still lagging far behind many of its global counterparts – particularly Finland which topped the table with 60%.

But what we know is there are two issues in play – yes, we want to push for more females to enter our sector, but we also want to encourage them to challenge for those top spots too. As an industry, we must empower people to come forward and put themselves out there for career progression.

On the flip side, we have seen that when women did engage with us for new roles in 2019, they were offered newer positions more often than men – underlining that when they are in the job market, they are as likely to attain more senior positions and a higher level of income.

So, it makes us wonder, what are the reasons?

Is it us? Is our approach less appealing to women, and how can we address this?
Do women generally feel more of a loyalty to their current employers?
Are women still the primary caregivers and do they currently get offered the flexibility they worry they may lose?
Is there less of a confidence that they are ‘right’ for the roles being advertised?
There has long been a debate about gender imbalance across many sectors – and it is still not entirely resolved. But, as an industry, let us continue to strive towards a greater level of diversity in the workplace and thrive in an inclusive environment.

We need to be looking to do more, whether that is making job roles more attractive – such as bringing in flexibility, career progression and employee engagement – and encouraging people to enjoy what the financial sector can provide for top talent, so that they apply for new roles within the sector.

Additionally, financial services should be working closely with recruiters to ensure that they have a diverse portfolio of candidates who can be a vital asset to their organisations.

It is naïve to think that gender imbalance can be solved swiftly, however, it is vital that we are recognised as an industry that champions all who represent them – regardless of characteristics, genetics and alike.

We are keen to help more talent fulfil their career ambitions, and to help businesses with their growth strategies. Bringing in new talent with new ideas, and further diversifying a workplace does not just help businesses survive, but thrive, as inclusion improves processes and allows firms to better understand a wider client base.



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