Women in financial services leadership


Achieving gender equity in financial services leadership

Within reach?

Authors: Alison Rogish (US), Stacy Sandler (US), Neda Shemluck (US), Patty Danielecki (US) & Tiffany Ramsay (US)

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.

Foreword by Amanda Pullinger, CEO of 100 Women in Finance

The Deloitte report in your hands, Within reach?, presents something rare—long-duration research coupled with practical tactics to more fully realize one of the financial services industry’s best opportunities, namely, cultivating larger numbers of female executives to lead the industry forward.

This report contains some positive news. We’re encouraged by the fact that women are now the majority of financial services industry employees and that the percentage of female executives is expected to grow from 22 percent today to 31 percent by 2030, but recognize there is more work to be done to realize more than just incremental growth in the next decade. We should take a moment to reflect on factors that most certainly contributed to the growth so far—intentional recruitment, innovation in retention, supportive reentry, as well as mentoring, sponsorship, and strong peer networks. The industry deserves credit for important initiatives toward improved gender diversity that are now paying off. Today, more women enjoy longer, more satisfying, and more senior-level careers in financial services, and the industry is stronger, in part, for their collective presence and contributions.

Progress, of course, is never as swift or evenly distributed as we’d wish to see. Representation equity in leading lines of business and in risk-taking roles often lags meaningfully across financial services. We note that women still manage only single-digit percentages of client assets, this being an obvious next area of opportunity for the industry’s use of women’s abundant skills. As fiduciaries, our paramount concern should be bringing forward this pool of talent for immediate client benefit.

100 Women in Finance, along with our industry colleagues, such as Deloitte, is working to address this opportunity. We propose that the finance community should think about cultivating female talent much earlier, among precareer young women who are just starting to form career ambitions and those entering the workforce. As we work to advance progress for women now working within the financial sector, we should direct equal attention to inspiring the next generation of young women to favorably view our industry, and to evolve the workplace to be worthy of their career selection.

We are grateful for Deloitte’s enduring work to explore the past, present, and future status of women in the financial services industry, as well as its diligence in identifying potential levers for continued progress. We agree with Deloitte that momentum likely depends upon a number of factors, including transparency, visibility of female leaders, support from men, and strong peer networks for women.

We encourage all industry leaders to incorporate Deloitte’s recommendations into their leadership praxis, while maintaining confidence that Deloitte’s vision for gender equity is, indeed, within reach.

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