Building a Better Diversity and Inclusion Program in the Finance Industry

Building a Better Diversity and Inclusion Program in the Finance Industry

Around 85% of CEOS with optimal diversity and inclusion programs in their companies enjoy increased profits and companies with an equal ratio of men to women make 41% more revenue.

Despite this fact, companies from an array of industries—including that of finance—are lagging behind.

In the UK, for instance, only 13% of senior positions on investment teams are filled by women. In the US, a notable gap is also present.

Despite earning over 57% of all undergraduate and 59% of master’s degrees, they represent only 12.5% of CFOs in Fortune 500 companies.

They do, however, make up 61% of all accountant and auditor jobs; 53% of those in financial management, and 37% of those in financial analysis.

If your business deals in finance and you wish to bridge the divide, what strategies can help you meet your mark?

Attracting Top Talent

In order for your company to be a well-functioning, diverse and inclusive entity, hiring and retaining staff from diverse backgrounds is key.

Your business can achieve this by working alongside firms that focus on candidates of color and/or women. Sending the right message in your job ads is also important.

Watch the language you use, checking if it might seem to be targeting males or people of a particular race.

Before you print your ad, have women and staff members of color peruse the language to check for any potentially misleading statements or descriptions.

If possible, do more than look at applicants’ CVs. Give them skills tests and let them show off their talents in role-plays and similar exercises, so you can see their abilities in-person.

Of course, always let them know beforehand what they can expect at the job interview.

Retaining a Diverse Team

Experts in D&I best practices recommend leaning on technology to check your diversity and inclusion performance and to ensure your company stays on its toes.

Use D&I software to measure and track diversity and inclusion in your portfolios. Tools like inclusion assessments can measure your D&I policies against industry standards, identify weaknesses in your organization, and provide data-driven solutions.

These tools gauge employee sentiment and help identify teams that are facing D&I-related challenges.

Training Staff

In order for your D&I strategies to work, all staff should receive continual training to open their eyes to the need for diversity.

As reported in the Harvard Business Review, in finance, women occupy only 20% of executive committee roles and 22% of board positions.

The reasons include unconscious biases and gender role expectations that disadvantage women. Misplaced ideas about what it takes to be a successful banker (aggressiveness, domination, and the like) are also traditionally masculine.

Fighting these biases requires education, which should begin at school, continue through at university (especially in degrees related to finance and other sectors where there is a minority and gender gap), and play a role in staff training.

Women are often held to a higher standard than men in the finance profession. Despite completing more undergraduate and master’s degrees in this speciality, they find it much more challenging to reach the highest management rungs in their organization.

A new way of hiring, relying on technological tools, and education and awareness training are vital if companies are to reach their full potential.

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