For years many companies have said they want more gender diversity in the workspace, but when it comes to actually implementing this, many companies fall short. They continuously look for candidates that “fit the bill” rather than looking for a fresh viewpoint – often stagnating innovation. The financial industry workforce is currently comprised of men, with women accounting for less than 30%, but not all hope is lost.
Nabilah Hussain is the Head of FinCrime at 3S Money. In order for fintech’s to avoid simply having a ‘diversity candidate’ when looking to hire, Hussain argues there must be a greater diversity pool when looking to hire someone, that way all genders will be given an equal opportunity. This is only one of many ways gender diversity in the financial industry could be improved:
‘Women in Tech’ is a hot-topic, but the number of women in FinTech remains low. Unlike in other sectors – such as engineering – where gender equality figures are showing a steady upwards trajectory, these figures remain stagnant in finance and technology. A report by Innovate finance found women still account for less than 30% of the FinTech workforce. Clearly, with numbers like this, the industry needs to do more.
Enhanced gender equality in the sector will lead to increased diversity of opinion, outlooks and perspectives within FinTech workplaces, providing the perfect catalyst for sector innovation. However, before this can happen, there needs to be a complete shift in attracting and recruiting women in FinTech. After all, how can the FinTech sector continue to progress and thrive if it isn’t a desirable industry for all?
Here are seven tips for FinTechs to increase female hiring prospects.
Job descriptions matter
First impressions are everything, so make them count! FinTechs must be conscious of the language they use when drafting job descriptions. Don’t push potential female candidates away by using creative titles such as ‘guru’ or ‘ninja’ – these terms inadvertently stop women from clicking on job adverts. Instead, remember the audience and use neutral descriptive language throughout.
Ensuring a condensed list of ‘nice to haves’ and ‘must haves’ is also worthwhile. We’ve all heard that, on average, men apply for a job when they meet 60% of the qualifications and requirements listed on a job description, while women apply only if they meet 100% – don’t let this outdated social conditioning pitfall letdown another female in your hiring process.
Business branding matters
FinTech leaders should always remember that they’re essentially selling to potential new hires. Moving beyond your business’s mission statement, and speaking directly to potential candidates about how working for the business will enrich their working lives is vital.
Ensure your brand has good PR – strong recommendations on sites such as Glassdoor will prove invaluable. Just as in the consumer world, where females hold a lot of the buying power, the world of work is the same. Studies have shown that a strong branding strategy can reduce a company’s turnover by as much as 28%.
So, FinTechs must make theirs count.
Studies have shown that when there’s only one underrepresented candidate, the chances of that person being hired is small. This is due to the fact that the person is seen as the ‘diversity candidate’ instead of the ‘qualified candidate’. Therefore it’s worthwhile to make it mandatory that your recruiters provide a portfolio of candidates with at least two females for every open role.
Ensuring there is a true representation of female, male and non-binary employees across the hiring process is necessary and will guarantee unconscious bias doesn’t overcome equality.
Let skills shine through
While I don’t necessarily like to categorise the skillsets of different people, studies have shown that so-called ‘soft skills’ are predominantly found in female candidates. These skills enable a greater ability to dictate the pace of the workforce. Placing more of a focus on these skills will act as a rallying force within a working environment and will, in turn, boost productivity and improve business-wide communication. Don’t be fooled by the idea of ‘softness’ – these types of skills are invaluable as business leaders progress up their respective career ladders. Senior-level leaders utilise them when it comes to strategic planning, visioning, and troubleshooting.
Re-imagine your view on culture
Don’t become obsessed with finding the perfect ‘culture-fit’, as looking for culture-fits often leads to attracting and hiring more of the same people every time.
Develop how you view culture and look to hire someone that will add new and fresh skills, viewpoints and personality to your organisation. An inclusive workplace will drive productivity and innovation. Steering away from the ‘must-have finance experience’ angle when it comes to hiring in many departments can drive away strong female and neurodiverse candidates. Different experiences can create the most interesting discussion and ideas.
It trickles down
It’s easy to say you want gender diversity in the workplace, but saying this and actually implementing the methods are completely different things. Action always has to start from the top.
Educate and explain to employees the importance and value of having diverse teams and how they, too, will gain learning from people different from themselves. Challenge yourself and your recruiters to monitor the number of female hires in the company each quarter.
By holding companies and the industry as a whole to account, we will finally tackle the FinTech gender problem and watch positive change follow.