By Amy Barker of Wirex
As someone who has been in the finance industry for over 20 years, being a woman in a typically male world still feels unbalanced. As employers, we are making progress, as diversity and inclusion are firmly on the agenda for organisations – now more than ever. We have a duty to ensure that opportunities are open to all. We genuinely need to start looking at the skills and perspectives an individual can bring to the table irrespective of gender, race, religious belief, sexuality, etc. We are all diverse and unique because of who we are and the experiences we have had along the way; we have so much to offer by virtue of this.
It is well publicised that fintechs are disruptors and innovators of the finance and technology industries, by combining forces to drastically change the landscape of finance as we know it. But this relatively ‘new’ industry does not only inspire clever solutions or great products, it also affords fantastic opportunities to those looking to work in this space.
Women and men have proven again and again that they can be equally as successful in business. So why are we still having this conversation about diversity? Because conscious and unconscious bias still exists, and workplaces are still broadly unequal. The Gender Pay Gap is still a thing. Women in senior positions have arguably had to work harder to get to the same levels as their male counterparts in many instances, just because they are female. They must be even better and strive even harder just to get the same recognition and opportunities. One thing is certain, we are not looking for sympathy or pity, we are simply asking for equality. This must be recognised. Nonetheless, the relentless quest to be treated as equal has sculpted us into resilient, adaptable, determined, won’t-take-no-for-an-answer individuals, who deserve every place at the top table.
I know this first-hand, because despite gaining over 20 years of experience in my field and obtaining accreditation from a chartered institution in my profession, I’ve had to use sheer grit and determination to fight through prejudices and stereotypes in order to get where I am today. It has been far from easy. The narrative is changing though, I am pleased to say. The topic is out there and widely spoken about; workplace bias is being challenged; pay gaps are being publicised and questioned; and improved flexibility regarding how, when and where we work is becoming commonplace.
I am proud to now work for an organisation that recognises talent over and above anything else. Exceptional talent, a positive attitude and a firm belief in our core values – these are what open doors at Wirex. We are on track to reaching a 50% female-strong headcount globally. Multi-discipline, multicultural and multilingual!
I never expected to be working for an organisation that is associated with crypto. For many years, my background consisted of traditional financial institutions, investment banks and brokerages. My knowledge of digital currencies was fairly limited and what I did know of them was mostly gained from negative press on the subject. However, when I came to interview with Wirex, I was blown away by the passion and vision the CEOs had for the future of the organisation. Their desire to make cryptocurrency open to all resonated with me. Understanding the mission and objectives shattered my initial perception of what working in this industry would be like – in a positive way.
I was hired for my experience and skills, to do a job that was very much required – and of great importance. As a senior HR professional, I feel the weight of responsibility to ensure that we are doing everything possible to be an inclusive employer and continue to build a diverse workforce. I joined at a pivotal time in Wirex’s history, as the first woman to be appointed to the Senior Leadership Team. But I won’t be the last! It’s a tough role but I was given the support and autonomy to get on with it. I was trusted to do the job I was hired for. The CEOs’ belief in me made me want to be the very best I could be for Wirex.
A year down the line and Wirex is profitable, we continue to grow our customer-base and team, and we’re expanding our operations globally. We have a great company culture and a hugely talented bunch of people across the globe who have made this all possible. I feel extremely proud to be a part of it and to have been instrumental in some of the initiatives that have made a real difference to our culture. Not once have I felt as though my gender is holding me back in my current role. I do feel, however, that experiencing this in the past has made me more resilient and thick-skinned, and ultimately got me to where I am now.
We have an amazingly talented, multicultural, diverse, international team at Wirex. Our focus is on high performance and results – the way it should be. Half of us are women, with professions ranging from developers and engineers, to marketers and financiers. We hold positions of varying levels of seniority, yet every one of our contributions is what has made Wirex the success it is today.
We are not stopping there, however. The key to being successful and competitive is to continually innovate, and for that to happen we need to nurture and retain our skilled workforce, whilst continuing to hire the very best people for the job. Wirex’s vision to make cryptocurrency “open to all” is not just aimed at our consumers, but at our current and future talent.
Women in fintech and crypto are a force to be reckoned with. Watch this space!