A PERCEIVED lack of career progression is causing many women to leave their jobs in financial services or putting them off joining the sector in the first place, according to new research.
The report, Female Millennials In Financial Services: Strategies For A New Era Of Talent, reveals that limited opportunities for career progression is the number one reason female millennials (those born between 1980 and 1995) leave a job in financial services.
And the outlook for those still working in the sector is little better, with two-thirds of women working in financial services believing they won’t be able to reach a senior level within their organisation, against three in 10 male millennials in the same industry.
The report, which draws on interviews with more than 8,000 young women globally, reveals that the financial services industry faces a number of hurdles in attracting and retaining this generation of women, who are entering the workplace in larger numbers than ever before and have new expectations and ambitions for their careers.
The research found that one in five of this generation of women would not work in financial services solely due to the sector’s image. Insurance is the least popular sector, while asset management fares better due to the higher number of positive senior female role models. Women are also more positive about the coaching they receive in this sector.
An employer’s policy on diversity and equality is also important for young women considering whether to work for an organisation – but many financial services firms appear to be falling short, as six in ten female respondents said financial services firms are not doing enough to encourage diversity and seven in ten said their employer talks about diversity but opportunities are not equal for all.
Jon Terry, a financial services HR consulting leader, said: “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.
“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.
“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.”
Meanwhile, only a handful of new jobs offer decent pay and flexible working, despite technology advances and significant changes in how and where people work, according to a new study. Campaign group Timewise said millions of people wanted to work flexibly, but only 6 per cent of vacancies for jobs with a salary of £20,000 have some degree of flexibility.
The research, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, found that flexible working arrangements were most likely to be found in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England, and least likely in London. Health and education jobs led the way; engineering and manufacturing lagged behind.
Timewise chief executive Karen Mattison said: “Businesses are missing out as they consistently fail to realise just how important flexibility is to people looking for a new role.”
The report’s author, Emma Stewart, said: “It is time to stop talking only about the glass ceilings, and do more to understand the ‘sticky’ floors in businesses which stop talented people from progressing.”
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