In 2022 Simplify Consulting wrote a whitepaper The Gender Gap: Change Starts With Bravery which shone a light on the challenges facing the wealth industry in respect of closing the gender gap. Closing the gender gap is something men can help to solve.
Achieving gender equality in the workplace should result in benefits for everyone, such as;
- Improved decision making: Having a diverse workforce can lead to better decision making and problem solving.
- Increased innovation: Gender diversity can lead to a wider range of perspectives and ideas, leading to more innovation.
- Better financial performance: Studies have shown that companies with more gender diversity on their boards and in leadership positions tend to have better financial performance.
- Better customer outcomes: Gender diversity in Wealth Management can lead to better outcomes for customers, as a diverse workforce is better able to serve a diverse customer base.
- Increased attraction and retention of top talent: Companies that promote gender equality are often seen as more attractive to top talent and may have an easier time retaining employees.
Men can play a crucial role in reducing gender bias in Wealth Management by being active allies to their female colleagues. This includes actively seeking out opportunities to promote and support the professional development and advancement of women, as well as challenging and addressing any instances of gender bias within their workplace. This creates the same opportunities for all to succeed and build wealth. Additionally, by being allies, men can also help to change societal norms and stereotypes that contribute to gender bias and discrimination.
These are just some ways men can act as allies;
- Speak up: When you witness or hear about instances of gender bias, call it out and take action to address it.
- Amplify the voices of women: When women speak up about their experiences with bias, listen to them and amplify their voices. Share their ideas and insights with your colleagues and make sure they are given credit for their work.
- Be a mentor: Offer to mentor female colleagues or to sponsor them for leadership roles.
- Promote diversity and inclusion: Support initiatives that push for more diversity and inclusion in your workplace.
- Educate yourself: Learn about the ways that gender bias can manifest in the Wealth Management industry and educate yourself on the impact it can have on women’s careers.
- Consider your language: Be mindful of how the language used may contribute towards any bias, for example we often hear about ‘key man dependencies’ and that sort of language is very easy to change.
Leadership by example is crucial in promoting gender equality within the Wealth Management industry. Senior figures, such as CEOs and managers, have the power to set the tone for the entire organisation and shape the culture and policies of the company. When these leaders actively work to promote gender equality and inclusivity, it sends a clear message to the rest of the organisation that these values are important and will be supported.
Furthermore, when senior figures lead by example, it sets a standard for others to follow and encourages them to take similar actions to promote gender equality. Additionally, it also helps to break down the stereotype that Wealth Management is a male-dominated field, which in turn helps to attract and retain more female talent. Leading by example is essential for fostering a more just and inclusive industry that caters to the needs of everyone in society.
An example within the industry of male senior leaders speaking out is Mark Carney, (Governor of the Bank of England), who has been outspoken on the lack of diversity in the financial sector and advocated for more women in leadership roles, whilst also putting in place policies to increase representation of women and minority groups at the Bank of England.
Our study last year highlighted some worrying figures and stories from females within the Wealth Management industry and even going back to school years, which shows gender bias is still a significant problem within the industry.
As a business we are taking action to try and ensure we are doing the right things and setting the right tone from the top. Here are some observations provided by male colleagues within Simplify, which highlight what we are doing as a business to try and turn the dial on gender equality;
- We have an equal split of men and women in leadership roles. Not due to a quota but hiring/promoting women who are deserving of those roles and are aligned in their values, behaviours and what they deliver.
- Tasks such as chairing meetings or taking minutes, which may traditionally have been done by women are rotated and everyone takes their turn.
- We recruit and reward agnostic of gender and we assign work based on capability and or areas of development.
- Gender is not a factor when considering pay and reward, this is purely based on capability and performance.
- There is flexibility afforded to all staff to work around family commitments, many of our staff need to take or collect their children to or from school, which is actively encouraged. We measure our staff on output and quality not being logged on 9-5.
- We all purposely joined in on a conversation recently during a team meeting around the menopause discussing our own personal experiences (where happy to), which was hugely beneficial especially for the men both professionally and personally.
It’s clear men can play a crucial role in supporting the transition to a more diverse gender balance across all industries. Bringing these discussions to the surface is a good place to start so there is a greater awareness, beyond which clear action is needed to address any imbalance, which will benefit everyone including the business themselves.
- Acting as role models and promoting gender diversity within teams and organisations.
- Advocating for and supporting the career development of women in the industry.
- Challenging and changing unconscious biases and stereotypes within the workplace.
- Bringing a diverse perspective to decision making and problem solving.
- Providing sponsorship and mentorship to women in the industry.
- Helping to create a more inclusive culture and work environment.
The easiest thing to do would be to do nothing or hope this issue naturally resolves itself. However, this is about doing the right thing and that is often difficult to do to make a tangible difference. Men along with women need to work together to tackle some of these biases.
By taking these steps, men can act as powerful allies in reducing gender bias in Wealth Management and help create a more equitable and inclusive industry for everyone.