International Women's Day 2022
08 Mar 2022
I was shocked to read a headline recently that it will probably take 30 years before the gender gap in senior manager roles in financial services will be closed. But I shouldn’t have been shocked, when you dig into some of the statistics in this market:
- 89% of financial advisers are male and the average age is 58
- And a statistic I use a lot as it is shocking - there are more investment fund managers called Dave, than there are female investment fund managers in the UK
- So, the pool of potential candidates for future leadership roles doesn’t have enough women in it for gender equality.
So, what can we do about it? Do we just need to wait out the next 30 years?
As a senior manager in a personal wealth business, I say a resounding “no”! We need to have this problem front of mind and consider alternative approaches when hiring and developing our teams.
I'm the Commercial Director in Hymans Robertson Personal Wealth. We launched in 2021 and our purpose is to help improve financial security with a suite of inclusive guidance and advice services delivered via the workplace.
Our team is currently gender balanced - I am privileged to work with many inspiring women (and men), and a top priority for us as we grow is to be as diverse on all measures as society as we believe that clients will be more likely to engage with a team they can relate to.
We know this will be a challenge as perhaps just 1 in 10 applicants for financial adviser roles will be a woman. So, we will invest in our career pathways programme to support individuals to develop or retrain towards the role they want. This will include hiring graduates, apprentices and interns, individuals retraining for second careers or returning to the workplace after raising their children.
Personally, I have had a bit of a zig-zag career. I didn’t go to university, I left school at age 16 and started work as an office junior. Over time, as the business grew, I progressed to finance manager and then decided to study for a professional qualification as my progression opportunities had become limited. That was tough as I was working full time and had a young daughter at home, however I qualified as an accountant in just over 3 years.
It was at this point that I moved to Hymans Robertson, our parent company, and spent 15 years in the finance team there, most of that as Head of Finance.
When an opportunity came up to work in our Incubator Innovation team, I jumped at the chance and spent the next couple of years working in a small multi-disciplinary team who were trying to solve big problems in the market, one of which was the advice gap.
This led to us launching Hymans Robertson Personal Wealth. I’m one of 4 senior managers in the team, I look after all commercial aspects of the business, alongside innovating through new digital technologies that we can leverage to reduce the cost of delivering advice, deliver better tools to clients and to consider the market needs of the future. I’m loving what I’m doing now and developing new skills that will, I’m sure, be useful no matter where my career zig-zags to next.
If you are interested in a career in financial services, it can be done – find a purpose that inspires you and a team that are willing to invest in you and the sky’s the limit!