Some women’s finance careers are held back by ‘mediocre’ male middle managers with internal politics, according to a report backed by some of the City of London’s largest financial institutions.
Research by Women In Banking and Finance and the London School of Economics – which has been supported by groups such as Goldman Sachs, Barclays and Citi, as well as the Financial Conduct Authority – has also revealed a tendency for these managers to fake empathy when dealing with women. , acknowledging that the trait was now considered valuable.
The authors of the report said this trend was of particular concern given the need for better management skills during the pandemic. Women in finance felt they needed to demonstrate sustained excellence in order to progress, the research found, with more room for men to make mistakes or be average performers.
Various reasons were given for this, male-dominated social scenes, disrupted careers due to maternity leave, and a greater reluctance to deal with men regardless of their abilities as they were still seen as the breadwinner.
The study – which uses qualitative research based on interviews with 79 City women conducted by the London School of Economics – covers businesses in banking, asset management, professional services, fintech and financial services. insurance. Women in Banking and Finance is a non-profit organization founded in 1980 and composed mainly of volunteers.
Grace Lordan, associate professor at LSE and founding director of The Inclusion Initiative, said there was a perception among women surveyed that he was “much more likely to be average men who ended up being the gatekeepers younger women passing by ”.
She said there had been some progress in the city but “it’s far from equal. . . we are still very, very far from equality ”.
Research has highlighted the challenges many women still face in their careers in the city, even though board data suggests improvements among number of non-managerial women.
The number of female presidents, CEOs or CFOs is much lower, and activists have warned that there are problems moving women into leadership positions to nurture this talent pool.
In front office roles in particular, women saw themselves as more visible as they were clearly a minority, and therefore more scrutinized. Of those interviewed, 11 were Black woman, several of whom said their level of performance had to exceed both white men and women to receive the same recognition.
Lordan said more subtle discrimination was harder to fight. “In the 1980s, you would know if someone was negative towards you in professional financial services. [Now] it’s much more subtle and being able to fight it is really, really difficult.
Lordan said that often women weren’t specifically chosen, but men were more likely to go out of their way to improve the career of someone more like them.
“So tend to be excluded for things, not necessarily have opportunities [or] being in front of senior leaders, seeing their distorted ideas as coming from someone else rather than themselves. “
The report identified ten areas where companies could take action, aimed at helping improve the culture around advancement prospects.
These included audits of ‘stretched’ assignment assignments, salary increases and promotions, encouraging flexible work styles and redesigning bonuses to reflect team member performance and work. in collaboration.