“Poor” male managers block women’s development in finance because they are better at office politics, new research suggests.
The women also said that many managers “pretended to have empathy” for diversity and that it was easier to work with more direct bosses.
The report, supported by the London School of Economics, called for a culture shift to improve diversity.
The author, Professor Grace Lordan, said: “We have made a lot of progress since the overt sexism of the 1980s and 1990s.
“But the problem today is cronyism.”
The research, based on interviews with 79 City women, was conducted by LSE and the Women in Banking and Finance campaign group.
Respondents felt they needed to demonstrate sustained excellence in order to progress and were subjected to more scrutiny than their male peers.
“One bad manager can derail your entire career. We need a change in culture and managers who truly understand the benefits of diversity in organizations,” said Professor Lordan.
Women also reported a tendency for male managers to stand on a diversity platform while doing little to improve it – in other words “feign empathy”.
Most women said they preferred tougher managers who lacked empathy because they “knew where they were”.
“Black women must surpass”
According to the report, the problem was worse among black women in finance. A quarter of those surveyed were black and described having “more headwinds and less tailwinds than other women.”
They said they were subject to higher levels of control and had to work harder to receive the same recognition as white men and women.
Dr Shefaly Yogendra, non-executive director of JP Morgan’s US Smaller Companies Investment Trust, told the BBC she struggled to find work in finance when she moved to the UK 20 years ago. years, although she has run five companies and obtained two degrees.
“I would continually not be considered by the boards of directors of these same blue chip companies who like to review the validation of other companies before allowing people like me in the boardrooms,” he said. she declared.
“This systemic exclusion is not over and it affects a lot of women, especially women of color.”
Renewed attention has been paid to the lack of representation of women on the boards of directors of large companies.
Government guidelines say that one-third of the board members of the FTSE 350 – the 350 largest companies on the London Stock Exchange – should be women and this target has been largely achieved.
But new research shows that nearly half of small listed companies have only one female director, if any.
Last year, gender diversity consultancy The Pipeline found that large UK companies with boards of at least one-third women are on average 10 times more profitable than boards of administration composed only of men.
LSE research said that rewarding collaborative working and encouraging more flexible working could increase opportunities for neglected finance employees, including more introverted men, minorities and women.
Laura Lambie, senior director of investments at Investec, said the rise of flexible working during the pandemic could boost diversity.
“If you go back 10 years, it’s no surprise that you don’t get the best managers if you only consider half the population,” she said.