The report covers
· The business case for gender diversity
· Barriers to diversity
· Interventions and initiatives
Professor Michelle Ryan from the University of Exeter said: “Although the financial services sector has a high proportion of women employees and customers, the question of why women are not better represented in leadership roles has, until now, remained largely unanswered. This report draws on the experiences of staff in the industry and on academic research to reveal the multiple sources of barriers to gender equality.”
Some comments from the report:
“It was sobering to note that of the 34 senior women initially interviewed in six global investment banks, one-third had left after only eight months – a loss equivalent to more than 200 years of intellectual capital.” Dr Ruth Sealy, Cranfield School of Management
“Analysis of company practices revealed a very male assumption of the ideal worker: an individual who could work long hours and would be constantly available to the client.” Academic case study
“Too much hope is being put on the people who have brought us here. Men who recruited other men who recruited other men aren’t going to have a sudden change of heart.” Professor Mustafa Özbilgin
The report identifies a business case for gender diversity in the sector. Benefits for business include a larger talent pool; cost savings on recruitment and training by decreasing staff turnover; improved decision making; improved ways to meet the diverse needs of customers and new routes to client markets.
However there are a number of barriers to diversity, identified by academic research and described in more detail by industry practitioners, which need to be addressed before the benefits of improved gender equality can be felt. The barriers include issues of work-life balance; a lack of role models and mentors; stereotypes and unconscious bias; assumptions of innate gender differences and fear of not fitting in.
The report, which includes case studies from Credit Suisse and UBS, recommends that companies respond to such obstacles with a range of initiatives to help address the gender imbalance. These include offering leadership or diversity training, changing organisational culture and tackling wide-spread stereotypes as well as introducing flexible working and improved networking. The report recognises that a combined approach is likely to be more successful than applying measures in isolation.
The report emphasises that changing business culture requires action, not just words or good intentions. The FS KTN offers financial services companies the opportunity to work with academics so that action is based on a firm foundation of rigorous research.
For further information:
University of Exeter Press Office
+44 (0)1392 722062
FS KTN Press Contact
Parm Evans, Parm Evans PR
+44 (0)7501 462045
About the University of Exeter
The University of Exeter is the Sunday Times University of the Year 2012-13. One of the Russell Group of leading, research-intensive universities, Exeter has more than 18,000 students from 130 countries at campuses in Exeter and Cornwall.
Exeter's research (http://www.exeter.ac.uk/
About the Financial Services Knowledge Transfer Network
The Financial Services Knowledge Transfer Network (FS KTN) is one of 15 networks sponsored by the Technology Strategy Board (http://www.innovateuk.org/)
FS KTN covers a wide range of financial services businesses, including banking, markets and technology, insurance and reinsurance, and buy side. It provides an interface for financial services, technology vendors, academia, regulators and Government.