Engaging the next generation of females

Consider this: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says 47% of management and professional roles in US financial firms are occupied by women. While this shows significant progress for females, a closer look at the top levels of these companies presents an underlying problem. Women occupy only about 20% of executive committee roles and 22% of board positions.1 As of January 2017, only 61 CFO positions within the Fortune 500 were filled by women. Factor in the statistic that women represent almost 51% of the US population, and you find a glaring inequality.2

So, what gives? Why are women so underrepresented in top levels of our industry?

In the past few years, the number of CEOs focused on talent diversity and inclusiveness has significantly increased. Attracting female talent has been pushed to the forefront of recruiting efforts. Why? Businesses know just how crucial diversity and inclusion is in driving innovation and creating a competitive advantage. The “why” is easy — it’s defining the “how” that could help you make an impact. How can you play a role in diversifying our industry? What can you do to encourage more women to enter financial services?                 

Initiatives to educate and to dispel myths about the financial services industry can begin even before a young female’s active job search. Here are some steps you can take to engage young women in our industry — and potentially find a future team member or future client in the process.

  • Check in at your alma mater: Consider holding seminars or having a table during career fairs at high schools and universities to provide a realistic perspective into this world: What is an average day like? What are your main responsibilities? Also consider firm-wide coffee chats, panels, or networking sessions.
  • Hold non-industry related events open to the public: A 5K, bake sale, restaurant partnership, concert, and so on. Be present at these events and show the social, team-oriented aspect of financial advising.
  • Mentorship programs: Engage in local mentorship programs and partner your colleagues with girls in the community. Fostering mentor-mentee connections from a young age goes a long way in making girls feel more comfortable and confident once they start looking for jobs.
  • Look into your pool of current clients: The children of your clients are easy to access and may be more receptive towards financial advising having seen their parents use advisors.

A strong effort to reach the next generation can create greater transparency and understanding of the industry for young females. We know these girls have the brains and talent to perform at very high levels; let’s take the extra step to let them know they are wanted and supported.

1 Astrid Jaekel and Elizabeth St-Onge, “Why Women Aren’t Making It to the Top of Financial Services Firms,” 2016

2 World Bank, 2017

The information provided is not intended to be a forecast or guarantee of future events or results.

All third-party marks are property of their respective owners.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Macquarie Investment Management (MIM), or any of its employees.

For educational purposes and for investment professional use only. Not for use with the general public.

© 2018 Macquarie Management Holdings, Inc.

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