At the current rate of change, it will take 30 years for women to reach 30 per cent representation in financial boardrooms, according to a new report.
The report, ‘Women in Financial Services’ conducted by Oliver Wyman, found that female representation on boards across financial companies had increased by two thirds over the last ten years. However, women on executive committees have only increased by three per cent between 2003 and 2013.
The research also suggested that ‘when a minority’s membership of a group reaches 30%, they come to be heard in their own right, rather than being perceived as ‘the voice of the minority’.
The report analysed the gender diversity of 150 firms and studied 1,000 current and potential employees across five countries in the finance industry.
Writing in the study, Nick Studer, Managing Partner, Financial Services and Michelle Daisley, Partner, Financial Services said, “There have long been concerns about the lack of women at senior levels in financial services. Many have suggested that the excessive risk taking and mistreatment of customers in the pre-2007 boom were caused by the overwhelming masculinity of the industry; some have asked whether the crisis might have been avoided if Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Sisters.”
“That is not the whole story, of course. The crisis had many causes. And a lack of diversity has many consequences. But regardless, it remains clear that the sector is losing out in the “war for talent.”
“We have been unconvinced by the depth of some of the discourse on this topic. Individual anecdote and stereotyping predominates, and facts are too seldom brought to bear. At Oliver Wyman, we pride ourselves on applying our in-depth industry expertise to help our clients tackle and address their most challenging and difficult problems. But on this topic, we felt we had no credibility as the majority of Oliver Wyman’s partners are men too. We were losing the “war for talent.”
“So we have spent five years scrutinizing Oliver Wyman’s own lack of gender diversity, and have launched on-going initiatives to address it – some have been successful, some less so. Along the way we have been helped by our clients and friends across the industry. This report represents our attempt to return the favour.”