International Women's Day Wed, Mar 8, 2023
Over the past few years, the finance industry has seen significant changes in terms of gender diversity. Historically, this industry has been male-dominated, with women facing numerous barriers to entry and advancement. However, many companies have recognised the benefits of a more gender-balanced workforce and have taken steps to promote diversity and inclusion.
One factor driving change is the growing recognition that diverse teams perform better. Research conducted by Gartner shows that inclusive teams perform up to 30% better in high-diversity environments. (Gartner) Numerous other studies have shown that companies with diverse teams outperform those with homogenous teams in terms of innovation, decision-making, and financial performance. As a result, many finance companies have made a concerted effort to increase the number of women in their workforce.
Another key factor driving change is a shift in societal attitudes towards gender roles. Whilst these societal changes are quite historic, we are still seeing the impact of these changes today. As more women have entered the workforce and achieved success in traditionally male-dominated fields, stereotypes and biases have been challenged. This has created a more welcoming environment for women in finance, with more opportunities for mentorship, networking, and career advancement.
Companies have also implemented policies to promote gender diversity. For example, some companies have implemented "blind" hiring processes that remove identifying information from resumes and job applications, in order to reduce bias. Others have instituted diversity and inclusion training programs for their employees. These efforts have helped to create a more level playing field for women in finance.
Despite these positive developments, there is still much work to be done to achieve true gender parity in finance. Women remain underrepresented in top leadership positions, with women holding just 21% of board seats, 19% of C-suite positions, and 5% of CEO roles in 2021 globally. (Deloitte) However, the progress made in recent years gives reason for optimism. With continued efforts to promote gender diversity and inclusivity, the finance industry is poised to become a more equitable and dynamic sector.
From my experience working from the hiring side, there are many approaches firms can take to help build more diverse workforce. From offering an inclusive and gender diverse work environment, promoting flexible work arrangements and providing female-based mentorship programs. However, it is also important that firms don’t overcompensate and favour female candidates over male just to ensure a diverse workforce. All candidates should be treated equally and considered based on their individual attributes, experience, and skillsets.
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