Project 28-40 Sector Insight: Finance

Executive Summary / Introduction

If you are serious about change, you as CEOs and senior leaders need to take the lead on women’s progression, moving this from a diversity initiative to a core business priority.

Conduct an equal pay audit and publish the results internally. Educate staff on the causes of the gender pay gap and outline what you will do to address pay discrimination.

Consult with women in your organisation about the changes they would like see to enable more women to succeed.

Profile men and women at all levels working flexibly using social media and videos. Go back to basics; ensure good performance management training for line managers on how to manage flexible workers and those working at home to reduce resentment and stigma for flexible workers.

Demonstrate visible leadership in tackling bullying, harassment and sexual harassment. Send a clear message to all employees that poor behaviour should be called out, and turn ‘zero tolerance’ policy into a reality.  

Key Findings

For the finance sector, long term retention of talent is vital. The key findings in this Sector Insight paper are a wake-up call for finance employers who want to improve retention of the female talent they have invested heavily in:

  • Women in the finance sector are just as confident and ambitious as men. So why do more men than women reach senior leadership positions in this sector?

  • Flexible workers face stigma. Stigma facing flexible workers appears to be worse in the finance sector than other sectors. Since women are more than twice as likely to work flexibly as their male colleagues, they are disproportionately affected1.

  • Bullying and harassment. 52% of women have experienced bullying and harassment in the last three years and 12% have experienced sexual harassment in the same time frame. Much of this is not reported. Action for change is needed.

  • Pay and progression imbalance. Only 30% of women in finance believe that men and women at the same level earn the same. There appears to be a strong anti-transparency culture – pay is not discussed. This inhibits change.

  • Lack of role models. There is a lack of women working at senior levels to inspire women to progress. Women in finance want examples of senior leaders who achieve work-life balance.