We recently came across a very enlightening report by Deloittes as part of their Insight series and the 100 Women in Finance organisation in the US about achieving gender equity in financial services leadership.
The report believes that in the US, the proportion of women in leadership roles within financial services firms currently sits at 21.9 percent , and is projected to grow over the next decade to 31 percent. These figure, which albeit still below parity bearing in mind that women are now in the majority of financial services industry employees, do show that positive actions have been taken and are working.
We know and have covered in the past how diversity within firms has been shown to drive innovation and increase productivity and that Gender diversity, in particular at the leadership level, has even been linked to boosts in profitability. Therefore the gender imbalance in leadership at the top in financial services could be a missed opportunity for many companies. In fact a recent Harvard study revealed that females outscored men in 17 of 19 leadership capabilities, many of which were noted in the survey as requirements for leading in the future. Some of the areas where women were perceived to excel at include taking initiative, building relationships, collaboration and teamwork, leadership speed, powerful and prolific communication, and innovation. Today, more women enjoy longer, more satisfying, and more senior-level careers in financial services, and the industry is stronger, in part, for their collective presence and contributions.
A closer examination of C-suite titles also revealed a subset of roles that have mostly emerged within the last decade; for example, chief data officer, chief sustainability officer, chief inclusion officer, chief diversity officer, and chief digital officer.