Smashing the glass ceiling in the finance sector

glassceiling, financeIn the world of finance, brokering, taxes and cold hard cash, it’s difficult not to be overwhelmed by what appears to be a predominantly male world. Indeed, even in popular culture, films such as Wall Street and The Wolf of Wall Street portray banking and, in particular, brokering as exclusively muscular affairs with nary a woman in sight.

Flailing testosterone around the room like they had just invented a new sport called testosterone ping pong, these overly aggressive “go-getters” are the reason that women feel excluded in the workplace.

This boy’s club mentality has driven a feeling that women are being ostracised at their work, which online journal Women’s Agenda has described as being “worse than harassment”.

But after the recession caused a rupture within the finance sector, that risk-taking, testosterone-fuelled culture was suddenly less appealing. It’s led to a broadening of all forms of finance, whether you’re working in taxation, brokering or banking, and far less gender bias.

The draw of femininity to finance

What are thought, traditionally, to be more feminine traits (compassion, kindness, empathy) are increasingly being deemed valuable in the finance industry.

This shifting landscape has led to a number of employers changing their methods of recruitment.

Tax recruitment firm Pure Search, for instance, recently reported that they had recruited for more than 49 companies within the past year, showing that many employers prefer to go through a middleman than wade through CVs themselves.

It also means that employers can’t discriminate on the basis of gender if they are being paired up with an prospective employee from an outside source.

Whether you’re male or female, employers still expect you to make a major impact in your position. While that macho nonsense might be dying like the dodo, anyone in a professional position has to utilise authority and assertiveness in order to succeed.

What employers love to see is a worker who can deliver results fast. This is especially true in the finance industry, where the stabilising economy still demands sharp thinking and quick results.

Slowly chipping at the glass ceiling

It would be nice to think that the finance industry was above the glass ceiling, but, according to national newspaper The Guardian, women hold only 14 per cent of board seats and two per cent of CEO positions in major banking firms.

The banking sector is waking up to this reality, and some firms, such as Barclays, have even employed a global head of gender to stop the scales tipping, once again, into the realms of male domination.

It’s tempting to lose all sense of self in a finance environment, falling into the bear pit portrayed in The Wolf of Wall Street. No matter what field you’re in, the most satisfying way to get results is to be yourself, whether you’re male or female.

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