The prolonged quest to close the gender gap in financial services

Businesswoman presenting during meeting, woman in financial services

Article by Jess Mcguigan, Wealth Planner at Kingswood

International Women’s Day is a symbol of never giving up the fight for women everywhere across the world to receive equal opportunities and treatment.

It also stands for the continuing evolution of the working environment in order for any gender to feel that they can pursue their dreams. It gives us a chance to recognise how far we’ve come as a profession in reaching equal parity, as well as celebrate some of the fantastic women in the financial services industry and empower the next generation of women to know that they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to.

Financial services for decades have been a male-dominated industry – A key driver of this has been the deep-rooted stigma that finance is a man’s world and years of men always handling finances. But we also know this is changing – According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, women will inherit over 60% of the wealth passed down to the next two generations in the UK by 2025 and control two-thirds of household wealth by 2030.  The research also reveals that 70% of women would prefer to work with a female financial adviser. In an ideal world, the number of female advisers would grow parallel to the increasing number of successful young women.

To help a diverse mix of clients, a diverse mix of advisers is preferable. Female advisers tend to have different skill sets to men; they are often more empathetic and intuitive which is key when dealing with certain types of clients. We are also seeing that women leaders tend to be better placed to attract and motivate young female talent to join the profession, helping to change the face of the industry.

The quest for closing the gender gap in financial services isn’t without its challenges. Women tend to be the primary caregiver when raising children and it’s important that firms recognise this and don’t let it be a hindrance for women wanting to have high-flying careers. Thankfully, with firms increasingly allowing flexible and hybrid working, more women are feeling confident in taking the next step. Women also tend to have a less clear route for their career paths and can sometimes find it harder to ask for promotions. The more women we see in the profession, the more they can be supported in achieving the positions they ultimately want without feeling imposter syndrome.

To sum up, International Women’s day is important to inspire and motivate women who might be afraid to enter a male-dominated industry. The more the industry changes and recognises these incredible women, the more it will help them join the sector, contributing to the goal of reaching equality throughout the financial world.

About the author

Jess McGuiganJess has over 9 years experience in financial services, originally starting her career at Critchleys in Oxford and she holds the Level 6 Advanced Diploma in Financial planning as well as the certificate in Discretionary Investment Management and Long term care license.

She also achieved Chartered status in 2021. Jess can advise on a wide range of financial planning issues, including providing investment, retirement, and estate planning solutions and she also has experience advising on specialised investments and tax & trust advice. She was highly commended in the Financial adviser of the year category at the women in financial advice awards 2021.

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