We talk a lot about women in business, and the slow but steady increase of women in business. But what about women specifically in the financial services industry?
According to data from the CFP® Board, only 23% of the nearly 90,000 CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals are women. In other areas of the industry, we see a higher representation of female employees. For example, according to a report by McKinsey & Company, women hold over half of the entry-level insurance jobs in the U.S.
Unfortunately, regardless of the area within financial services, there is a common place women are missing: at the top. A study by Deloitte Center for Financial Services looked at the financial services industry as a whole (banks, insurance, payroll, wealth management, etc.) and found while women make up more than 50% of the overall workforce, they hold only 21% of leadership roles.
The reasons for this discrepancy vary. A 2014 report on behalf of the CFP® Board’s Women’s Initiative (WIN) examined why women might be lacking in the industry. The author of the report, Eleanor Blayney, CFP®, found women have a general lack of awareness of financial planning. Her research also showed that when it specifically comes to becoming a CFP®, many women have misperceptions about the profession and certification process. This coincides with her findings that there is still gender discrimination and bias within the financial services industry, which likely results in women feeling unwelcomed or unsupported.
These barriers present a real opportunity to continue to increase the representation of women in financial services. In the industry, women not only have the chance to create success for themselves, but they are then able to guide other women along the way. This can be in the form of mentorship or a professional relationship, such as advisor/client.
Not surprisingly, the female market is filled with untapped potential. A study done by Boston Consulting Group found 73% of women are unsatisfied with their financial services providers and 71% are unsatisfied with services they receive from investment, insurance, and credit card providers. That means females in the industry have the opportunity to provide quality care and services. As a result, the more positive experiences women have in financial services will likely lead to an increase in the number of women who seek careers in the field.
At Out & About, one way we contribute to the diversifying of the industry is through the stories we share on our On Purpose spotlight series:
- Danielle Chuckran shares her innovative approach to the disconnect between sales and marketing in wealth management. Learn more about Danielle and her approach here.
- Marianela Collado, CEO and senior wealth advisor at Tobias Financial Advisors, started keeping her personal books and buying stocks at 15 after watching her parents struggle financially. Learn more about her story here.
- Sheena Gray works to train industry leaders to equip them with the tools to create an inclusive work environment. Learn more about how she does this here.
- Meredith Benton, founder and principal of Whistle Stop Capital, believes firm transparency is key to diversifying the financial services industry. Learn more about how her own company does this here.
If you’re interested in reading about more amazing women in the financial services industry, check out our On Purpose series here.