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One in five senior City workers are female Says Astbury Marsden

One in five senior City workers are female Says Astbury Marsden

Only 6% of top financial services positions filled by women &middotWomen rarest in commodity, trading and corporate broking

Just one in five mid to senior level jobs across the City (from analyst to managing director) are filled by women,* according to new research by Astbury Marsden, a leading financial services recruitment firm.

Astbury Marsden says that only 6% of managing directors in the City are women.

Mark Cameron, Chief Operating Officer at Astbury Marsden, says: “Our latest research shows that there is still a glass ceiling for women who work in the City. While this is still a major issue there are positive signs of change on the horizon, with banks and hedge funds keen to address the gender imbalance.”

The research found that commodity trading, corporate stockbroking are amongst the least gender diverse sub sectors of financial services with 91% and 84%, respectively, of mid and senior level staff in those areas being male.

Ratings agencies and regulatory agencies have the highest proportion of mid level and senior employees that are female.

Mark Cameron comments: “The proportion of women in senior positions in the City varies from one type of business to another. Some financial services businesses are already very progressive employers with a high proportion of women at the top – some score less well.”

Career progression challenges that women face

Astbury Marsden found that on average, women in the City tend to work shorter hours than men, largely because most of the burden of childcare is shouldered by women.  The research found that 56% of men in City jobs working more than 45 hours a week compared to only 41% of women.

This has an impact on the proportion of women working in senior roles in banks, with recent McKinsey research finding that attrition rates for women in European financial services are particularly severe by the time they reach middle management.

Says Mark Cameron: “It can be a very difficult for women to juggle childcare and maternity challenges with a demanding career in the City.  The challenge for many women is that it is difficult to progress in an arena where long hours and entertaining clients outside conventional office hours is often expected. Many fear that asking for flexible working patterns is a step too far, especially in the current City jobs climate.”

“This problem also affects a lot of other high pressure working environments – for example only about a fifth of MPs are women.”

“There is a long way to go before men start taking an equal share of the responsibilities in this area.”

Astbury Marsden adds that women have greater proportional representation in HR, accounting for 33% of mid level and senior staff, Compliance (32%) and Other Administration functions (31%).

Mark Cameron adds: “Some women reconcile the conflicting roles of childcare and work by opting for careers in HR and compliance where there is the assurance that their childcare can be met with flexible working conditions.”

“Sometimes they might feel pushed into areas where working at the weekend or long into the night is less common than front office jobs in M&A teams, for example.”

“Despite recent improvements, it is a shame that some trading room floors are still male dominated arenas, which are a little too testosterone-heavy.”

“Historically, there has been a small pool of women wanting to enter what they see as a male dominated sector, and this feeds through to even fewer women reaching top positions.

“The problem is made worse because there are too few qualified female candidates for banks to hire from in some areas, like IT, where part of the solution could be for universities to attract more women to particular courses.”

Astbury Marsden says that City employers have become more proactive in attracting female candidates to apply for senior roles.

Mark Cameron continues: “Investment banks and hedge funds are keen to shatter the glass ceiling and introduce more gender balance. Better gender diversity can help banks broaden their skill set and make an organisation more dynamic by including a broader range of perspectives. ”

The Cranfield School of Management’s & lsquo;Female FTSE Board Report’, which is a regular report on the number of women on FTSE100 boards, shows that the overall percentage of FTSE-100 directors who are female is at 16%,** an uplift of 2.5% on the last three years.

FTSE-100 companies with no women on the board has dropped to only 11 from 21 in 2010.Similarly the number of FTSE 100 companies with more than one woman has increased to 50 from 39 in 2010.


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