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Young women globally believe financial sector can't offer career progression

3 min read

09 June 2015

Former deputy editor

A new PwC report has found that female millennials globally have an unenthusiastic view of the financial industry, believing the sector is will hold them back if they attempt to make it to the top.

The alarming findings underline that young women – born between 1980 and 1995 – in the finance space are leaving their jobs due to restricted chances to climb the corporate ladder, while others are deterred from going into finance altogether for the very same reason.

“This should be a wake-up call for those in the financial services sector to bring their diversity policies to life, redefine their definition of what makes a leader, re-evaluate how they develop their people and create a structure where women can thrive and not be stifled,” said Jon Terry, PwC’s financial services HR consulting leader.

“Having visible female role models at all levels of an organisation will be an important step to show employees and potential employees that leadership positions are achievable for all.”

Read more on gender inequality in the workplace:

The report from the professional services firm revealed two-thirds of women working in the industry think a senior level post with their employer is unobtainable. Comparatively, just 30 per cent of male counterparts have the same outlook.

Elsewhere, one in five of female millennials said they wouldn’t be interested in working in financial services because of its image. Insurance was the most unpopular sector that women would look to avoid, while asset management secured more favour as a result of senior female role models to look up to.

Finance firms aren’t helping the cause either, according to respondents, as 60 per cent of women said the companies aren’t doing enough to encourage diversity. Furthermore, 70 per cent said their employer discusses diversity but the opportunities aren’t equal.

Terry, added: “At a time when financial services firms are finding it difficult to root out aspects of their culture which could lead to excessive risk-taking or regulatory breaches, attracting more women at all levels of the organisation could provide the catalyst needed for a real shift in attitudes and behaviours.

“It is clear that financial services firms have a way to go to attract and keep hold of this new era of female talent. These women are ambitious and looking to progress and if these expectations aren’t met women will simply be put off joining or will vote with their feet and leave. Within this highly networked generation, poor perceptions of current staff can quickly spread and discourage potential recruits.

Know any inspirational females? The First Women Awards is the UK’s premium awards programme focused on senior-level business women and professionals, which will take place on 11 June in London. The awards are hosted by the CBI and Real Business, and are held in association with Lloyds Banking Group.

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