According to a report backed by some of the City of London‘s largest financial institutions, careers for some women in finance are stunted by “mediocre” male middle managers who are adept at playing domestic politics.
Research by Women In Banking and Finance and the London School of Economics – backed by groups like Goldman Sachs, Barclays, and Citi, and the Financial Conduct Authority – also found a tendency among such managers to feign empathy in leading women. that the property was now considered valuable.
The report’s authors said this trend was of particular concern as greater management skills were required during the pandemic. Women in finance felt they needed to demonstrate sustained excellence in order to make progress, the study found, with more leeway for men to make mistakes or achieve average performance.
Reasons for this were cited for a variety of reasons, from male-dominated social scenes, career interruptions from maternity leave, and a greater reluctance to lead men regardless of their ability, as they were still viewed as breadwinners.
The study – which uses qualitative research based on interviews with 79 women in the City of the London School of Economics – includes companies in the banking, wealth management, professional services, fintech and insurance sectors. Women in Banking and Finance is a non-profit organization founded in 1980 and staffed primarily by volunteers.
Grace Lordan, associate professor at the LSE and founding director of The Inclusion Initiative, said the women interviewed felt that “it was much more average men who ended up being the doorkeepers for the younger women who got through.” “.
She said there has been progress in the city, but “it is nowhere near equal. . . we are still very, very far from equality ”.
The research highlighted the problems many women still face in their careers in the city, even though data from the boardroom suggests an improvement in the number of female non-executives.
The number of women chairpersons, executives or chief financial officers is much lower, and activists have warned that there are problems getting women into top management positions to feed that talent pool.
In front office positions in particular, women viewed themselves as more visible, as they represented a clear minority, and were therefore questioned more strongly. Of those surveyed, 11 were black women, several of whom said their proficiency levels had to exceed both men and white women in order to receive equal recognition.
Lordan said more subtle discrimination is more difficult to combat. “In the 1980s, you knew if someone in the financial services industry was negative to you. [Now] it is much more subtle and to be able to defend against it is really, really difficult. “
Lordon said that women were often not specifically held back, but that men were more likely to do anything to improve the career of someone more like them.
“So things tend to be excluded, not necessarily given opportunities [or] to stand in front of high-ranking executives and have their ideas misrepresented as someone else and not yourself. “
The report identified ten areas where companies could take action to improve the culture surrounding advancement opportunities.
This included reviews of “stretch” assignments, salary increases and promotions, encouraging flexible work styles, and redesigning bonuses to reflect team member performance and collaboration.