Only 19 per cent of C-suite positions are held by women in the financial services industry, despite there being an equal number of men and women entering the field, says McKinsey research published Sept. 6.
This imbalance is due to women not being promoted at the same rate as men, says the research paper Closing the gap: Leadership perspectives on promoting women in financial services.
Early in their tenure, women are 24 per cent less likely to achieve their first promotion as their male peers, even though they request promotions at similar rates, says the study.
Over half of women in senior positions surveyed by McKinsey (VP level or above) say they believe they have missed out on opportunities because of their gender. This compares to 10 per cent of men who feel the same way.
The study found that women of color are particularly disadvantaged. “Despite one in five entry-level hires being a woman of color, they virtually disappear from representation at higher levels.”
Access to mentoring
To address the issue of gender-parity in the workplace, McKinsey says solutions include enhancing the quality of and access to mentoring; eliminating bias in reviews and promotions; giving employees the flexibility to balance work and family; building accountability through target setting and measurement, and “rebranding” the industry to make it more attractive to women.
“Demonstrating that financial services is a sector in which women can thrive is a critical first step to achieving parity. Doing so will help improve female representation at the earlier stages of the career funnel – and is particularly important in sub-sectors such as asset management and wholesale banking where women start out below parity,” says McKinsey.
To learn more, consult the study here.