Women in Banking: Equality in the Financial Services.

Gender equality in the financial services has taken a long time – but the changing face of boardrooms proves that there are more women in banking careers than ever before.

The Changing Face of Financial Services

Banking used to be a male-dominated industry. The ratio of men to women is, still, uneven – but all that’s changing. Those starting their careers in the financial services now will experience a different workplace than the generations before them.

So, how has the financial services sector responded to calls for greater gender equality?

Historic board appointments 

In 2019, Alison Rose became the first female CEO appointed by a global bank. (Other women have held the position of Executive Chairman in other international banks like Santander – but with a male CEO operating the company).

Yes, it’s a recent appointment – but it paves the way for more women to make it to the top-level banking boardroom.

Understanding of talent requirements 

The trouble with a male-dominated boardroom – or indeed, any management circle – is the lack of diverse talent. Recruiters have begun to recognise the value women bring to management decisions: they have other experiences to add to the mix, providing additional perspectives that have not been traditionally considered.

Some argue that men are more likely to take risks, while women bring a more emotional approach to leadership. In reality, evidence for gender-based differences is thin. Why, then, are more women hired into management positions than ever before?

It’s because the financial services sector is – slowly, finally – looking beyond gender as a reason to hire (or not hire) a candidate. The experience, skills, and forward-thinking attributes of a candidate are more important than their gender.

So, really, the mix on management teams isn’t because women offer different attributes: it’s that the extended candidate pool created by changing attitudes means hiring managers can create the very best team.

The numbers speak for themselves: an ongoing McKinsey study reveals that a more gender- and ethnically-diverse management team leads to 21% additional profit. That’s the kind of statistic the financial services can’t afford to ignore in a world where the entire sector is under pressure.

Sector disruptors challenge hiring traditions 

The entire banking industry faced a huge shakeup in recent years. The credit crunch in 2008 meant tighter regulation and far less trust from both the corporate and consumer markets.

Disruptor banks, making the most of new technology, challenge the stagnation of the banking industry. Monzo and Starling Bank are two new banks making the most of apps and tech to throw down the gauntlet to high street and business banks.

It’s not just the tech that’s changing the face of banking: the CEO and founder of Starling Bank is Anne Boden. The bank is challenging everything we know about financial management – starting with who operates in the boardroom and calls the shots.

Find your job in banking 

There’s growing demand for even more gender equality in the financial services and banking sector. From team management to data analyst roles, there’s a career path for every woman interested in working in this sector.
Check out our banking jobs resources to discover which new career path might suit you!