Young Women Leaving Financial Services Due To Limited Career Opportunities | The Curve Group: Talent Management Specialists Young Women Leaving Financial Services Due To Limited Career Opportunities | The Curve Group: Talent Management Specialists

Young Women Leaving Financial Services Due To Limited Career Opportunities

Posted on July 30, 2015

Our very own Lyndsey Simpson recently featured in an article in Forbes business magazine, written by Karen Higginbottom. The article can be found here on the Forbes website, and reads:

Much of the recent focus on developing women within the financial services sector has focused on the mid to senior management level. An accusation leveled at large global organizations, not just those in the financial services is that much of the gender diversity work ignores women at the start of their careers. Now a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) revealed that two-thirds of young women don’t believe they will be able to reach a senior level within the organization.

The PwC report entitled “Female millennials in financial services: strategies for a new era of talent” has found that limited opportunities for career progress is the main reason why female millennials leaving their job in financial services. The report, which draws on interviews on more than 8,000 female millennials globally, found that the financial services industry faces a number of hurdles in attracting and retaining this generation of women.

Lyndsey Simpson, co-owner of HR services firm, The Curve group expressed surprise at the findings. “In my opinion, now couldn’t be a better time to be a women in business and have an accelerated career in financial services.” Simpson believes there is a mismatch in pace between millennial expectations and a realistic pace of progression. “Workers in their 30s and above, expect to have to learn a role, deliver in that role for around 18 months to two years, before being able to progress to the next position. However, the millennial generation are far more impatient and expect to be moving role every 12 months which is a difficult ask for any business, not just financial services, as it is difficult to prove competence in such a short timeframe and such frequent moves have a disturbing effect on both customers and employees being led by constantly changing leaders.”

Simpson argues that this could be addressed by financial services firms ensuring that expectations are managed and aligned between both the firms and their employees. “It’s also about introducing more development short secondments and broader project roles for this generation that enables them to learn skills/roles alongside performing in their day job.”
The PwC research found that one in five of this generation of women wouldn’t work in financial services solely due to the sector’s image. Insurance was the least popular sector, while asset management fared better due to the high number of positive senior female role models.

Simpson believes that the image’s sector isn’t just a deterrent to female millennials. “It’s becoming increasingly difficult to attract graduates and millennials of any sex to financial services. This generation have a stronger social conscious than previous generations and also place a far greater value to work-life balance. Therefore the sector has a two-fold challenge to demonstrate to society that they give back and add enormous value to the economy and social causes. The second, harder challenge, is to demonstrate that you can have a good work-life balance in financial services. I see little evidence to support real change in this space and it will take a large financial services organization to make a stand and really act on this rather than provide rhetoric before everyone else will follow-suit.”

An employer’s policy on diversity and equality is also high on female millennials’ list when considering whether to work for an organization; however many financial firms are falling short of female millennials’ expectations. The PwC research found that six in ten female millennials said financial services firms are not doing enough to encourage diversity and seven in ten remarked that their employer talks about diversity but opportunities are not equal for all.

Jon Terry, PwC’s financial services HR consulting leader warned that the findings were a wake-up call for financial services employers to bring their diversity policies to life. “They need to re-define 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.”

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