Women finance leaders still fewer than men: survey

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Male business leaders still outnumber their female counterparts in the finance sector despite the continued upsurge of women in the industry, according to a new survey by finance recruitment specialist Marks Sattin.
In a survey of more than 1,300 Australian finance and accounting professionals, 76% of respondents said females compose only less than half of their company’s leadership team. Only 6% of women surveyed were senior executives, compared with 12% of men.
The survey also found that women’s attitudes towards female managers may be preventing their succession to leadership roles.
Of the female respondents, 21% preferred male managers for being less emotional and temperamental and more rational than women. Seen as more empathetic and compassionate, female managers were cited for having stronger team focus and greater understanding of family needs.
The survey noted that employers must raise awareness of unconscious bias in the hiring process and promote flexible workplace options to attract top female talent.
“The finance sector can make gender diversity a priority by reviewing existing policies and culture to ensure there are no barriers for women either explicit or understated,” it said. “This would involve reviewing current hiring procedures to ensure females are on the interview panel, and looking internally to understand current barriers to hiring women.”
Providing flexible working options that enable employees to balance work and child care will also create gender equality, according to the survey. It found that 14% of women will be attracted and remain in a job that has flexible work options, compared with only 7% of men.
“Enabling female employees to balance work and home care needs will help to keep women in the workforce longer. But support and greater flexibility within roles needs to be a commitment that comes from the top if we want to truly address the gender imbalance,” said Suzanne Gerrard, Marks Sattin general manager.