Gender diversity among top-level leadership is lacking across many male-dominated industries. For women in financial services, this divide is evident between entry-level and senior employees.
Women in the financial world, especially women of color, have to fight through racial and gender discrimination, biased promotion practices, and other sociocultural barriers in order to gain a C-suite position.
Men, especially white men, do not have to face these challenges and therefore dominate leadership operations – further perpetuating the fact that women of color have to work three times harder to obtain success within the financial industry.
Current Statistics: Women of Color Leaders in Finance
According to a recent report by McKinsey & Company, white men within North American financial firms make up 31% of entry-level employees and 73% of C-suite employees, increasing in representation with seniority level.
In contrast, women of color make up 21% of entry-level employees, yet only comprise 1% of C-suite leadership. The representation of women of color decreases with seniority level. Women of color are also less likely to receive a promotion when compared to their white male counterparts.
Challenges for Senior Female Financial Executives
Women of color face significant challenges while on the path to obtaining a senior-level position in the financial industry. Their white male counterparts do not have to encounter these challenges and, as a result, can be unaware that these barriers exist. Some may unknowingly perpetuate them.
A few of these challenges include:
- Lack of support and mentorship from supervisors and managers
- Difficulty finding a work-life-family balance, especially during pregnancy
- Unequal current representation in senior-level leadership
- A political and unwelcoming environment among senior-level leadership
In order for more women of color to gain senior leadership positions in this industry, companies must remove promotion bias, women need to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and the industry must foster a welcoming, open culture.
Creating and sustaining a culture of inclusivity will help your company retain top talent by reducing the social barriers and prejudice that cause women of color to exit the industry for good. Schedule a workshop with Schabel Solutions to get started today.