The financial advice profession will have a serious problem if it can’t attract women to join its ranks.
This is the stark warning from eFinancialCareers MD George McFerran, who has found that 84% of women in the finance sector believe that they’ve experienced some level of gender discrimination in their career.
“Fifty per cent of graduates coming out of university now are women, and if they don’t want to come and work in your sector then going forward you’ve got a significant problem,” he told Wealth Professional TV.
“So I think strategically the industry has to change and has to adapt itself, because they’re going to struggle to attract top talent going forward.”
He added that only 35% of respondents to the financial recruiter’s survey realised that their company had an active gender diversity program in place – and that this may largely be a perception problem.
“The key finding I found out here is that I think that companies are working hard but the message just isn’t getting through to the employees,” he said.
Nareen Young from Diversity Council Australia (DCA) added that the finance sector has been making great strides to improve gender equality, but there is still a long way to go.
“The issue right now is ‘just pick the women’,” she said. “You have the capacity; the women are there; they’re ready. The organisations that are members of DCA like Westpac, who have put targets in place, ‘oh gee, what a surprise’ the targets have been exceeded.
“So if you throw all your biases out the window about what merit is, about why women aren’t being picked, then suddenly, ‘goodness me’, the women are there – just like they’ve always been for the last 10 years or so – ready, waiting, and very able.”
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Do you feel like your practice or parent organisation does enough on the gender diversity front? Is this an issue that needs to be addressed? Join the debate by commenting below.