Women In Financial Services

Placing more women in senior roles has been a priority in many countries for the past decade. Targets have been set and initiatives launched in financial services, along with other industries where women are under-represented at the top. Yet progress remains slow. 

The problem is not that the financial services industry does not recognize the benefits of diversity. Many of those we interviewed, women and men, acknowledge them. Gender balance is an important aspect of diversity. It provides access to the full talent pool, better decision making by bringing together different perspectives, better service to customers by better representing them, and a stronger economy, thanks to greater and more effective participation in the workforce by women.

What is slowing the progress of gender balance in financial services? Partly, it is that well-intentioned organizations have not found the right recipe for advancing women and the right way of combining the various ingredients, such as flexible working arrangements, sponsorship, and cultural change. Partly, the problem is that diversity is too often seen as part of corporate social responsibility or fairness in the workplace, rather than as a commercial imperative. The appreciation of diversity’s value exhibited by our interviewees does not yet pervade the industry.

Much work remains to be done. We hope this report will help by providing a better understanding of where things stand, the obstacles to progress, and how they can be overcome. In this first chapter of the report, we provide gender balance statistics from a number of countries and sectors of the industry before examining the points at which women exit the industry or stop progressing, and what kinds of support would enable women to keep progressing to the top. 

Click here to view the full PDF