Within reach? Achieving gender equity in financial services leadership

Despite their efforts, many financial firms have yet to achieve a greater representation of women leaders. This report offers a roadmap for cultivating more female executives to lead the industry forward.

The case for diversity in organizations has never been more convincing: diversity has been proven to drive innovation and increase productivity. At the leadership level, gender diversity has even been linked to boosts in profitability. It’s no wonder, then, that 34 percent of business leaders who responded to Deloitte’s most recent Global Human Capital Trends report ranked diversity and other indicators of social impact as a key measure of success in evaluating company performance.

Despite this, it’s still a challenge for many businesses to have more women in leadership roles. Many organizations have instituted diversity and inclusion initiatives to counter gender disparities and other diversity issues, but traditional programs have not led to a significant acceleration in the share of women in leadership.

Women still only account for a mere 5.4 percent of CEOs at S&P 500 companies. In the financial services industry specifically, the proportion of women holding leadership roles in 2019 is 21.9 percent. It’s projected to grow to 31 percent by 2030, but that’s still below parity.

If their programs haven’t been working, what can organizations do to improve leadership outcomes for women? They should consider rethinking their strategies. One of the key ways to do that is by making intentional efforts specifically aligned to growing the share of women in leadership roles. Only then might greater gender equality in leadership be within reach.

The inaugural report of our Within reach series—a research-based initiative by Deloitte and 100 Women in Finance to explore topics related to women in financial services—focuses on gender equity in leadership. We analyzed more than 100 large US financial services firms to assess how women have fared in leadership roles since 1998. To complement our analysis, we convened a virtual panel of executive women leaders to discuss the variety of ways financial services institutions can retain, develop, and grow the representation of women in leadership.

To learn more, download Within reach: Achieving gender equity in financial services leadership

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