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Women Shun Financial Services For A Reason

Posted on June 9, 2015 at 10:40 AM

This is one of those rare moments when I am going to generalise, shamelessly : women - ok, many women - are put off by the financial services sector: working in it, putting up with having their men work in it even with all the financial perks, and also in their capacity as customers.

Now it seems we have some inter-generational evidence to back that generalisation. One in five young women born between 1980 and 1995 wouldn't work in financial services solely because of the sector's image.

Female millennials in financial services: strategies for a new era of talent’ - a report just out by PwC - draws on interviews with over 8,000 women, so-called 'milennials' , revealing the extent of the hurdles the industry faces in attracting them.

There has been no respite in the fall-out from the financial crisis, and this may be one of its greatest hidden costs: an endemic future lack of diversity in a sector that is crying out for it.

Even if they join, PwC's report reveals that limited opportunities for career progression is the number one reason this group of women leave their job in financial services. As many as two-thirds of women working in the sector believe they won’t be able to reach a senior level within their organisation. This compares to just three in 10 male 'millennials' working in the same industry.

Insurance is the least popular sector, while asset management apparently fares better due to "the higher number of positive senior female role models." And their constant successful promotion by the mainstream media, I would add to that.

But women are also more positive about the coaching they receive in the asset management sector, which is a step in the right direction.

“At a time when financial services firms are finding it difficult to root out aspects of their culture which could lead to excessive risk-taking or regulatory breaches, attracting more women at all levels of the organisation could provide the catalyst needed for a real shift in attitudes and behaviours" says Jon Terry, PwC's financial services HR consulting leader.

 “It is clear that financial services firms have a way to go to attract and keep hold of this new era of female talent. These women are ambitious and looking to progress and if these expectations aren’t met women will simply be put off joining or will vote with their feet and leave. Within this highly networked generation, poor perceptions of current staff can quickly spread and discourage potential recruits" he adds.

Such 'poor perception' extends to the very ethics of the industry.


Categories: Women, Behaviour, Inclusion