Gender gap in financial services affects pay, family leave, promotion

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Gender inequity in the financial services industry is so severe that nearly nine in 10 women expect tending to family obligations will hurt them careerwise.

The gap in attitudes and outlook on gender inclusion is wide enough that women and men in financial services often have entirely different takes on gender in the workforce, with men much more likely to have an outsized positive view on progress in gender inclusion.

For example, 68 percent of men predict the number of women at senior levels will increase over the next two to three years, but only 45 percent of women agree, according to a survey conducted by Visa and Money2020.

The survey polled 751 professionals in the U.S. financial services industry, with respondents being mostly mid- to senior level. While there’s ample research showing more diverse companies perform better, the survey showed a persistent gap in the perception of inclusiveness within companies and the pace of change.

The most striking differences between the sexes show up in family issues such as maternity leave. Just 62 percent of the female respondents to the survey said they feel confident they will be welcomed back following maternity leave, and 88 percent said they believe a woman’s career trajectory is more negatively impacted by family obligations than their male colleagues.

Pay inequality also is seen as more of a problem by women than men. While the majority of men surveyed (69 percent) said they feel that women and men are paid equally for the same job within their organization, only 28 percent of women say they feel this way.

When asked what it will take to change the status quo, both men and women said they feel strongly that men should play a role in promoting gender equality in the workplace; men are significantly more comfortable than women in raising issues or concerns related to gender inequality, with many women not wanting to be labeled as complainers or potentially facing negative consequences.

And despite half of respondents saying that they are aware of diversity and inclusion initiatives within their organizations, 36 percent of women said they do not feel promotion and advancement of women is a priority for their employer.

The survey's respondents said the most impactful changes to improve inequality would be to increase awareness and set goals, address the gender pay gap, set quotas to ensure an equal leadership team and board, and provide mentoring programs.

The survey is expected to take place annually as part of a newly launched Money20/20 program called Rise Up. The goal is to track whether the industry’s talk of change is actually resulting in a more inclusive environment.

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Gender issues Workforce management PTO Consumer banking Women in Banking