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If pin-up photos and gritty jokes have long been commonplace in trading rooms, the world of finance has gradually opened up to women, an evolution symbolized by the arrival, this Monday, of Jane Fraser at the head of Citigroup bank, one of the flagships of Wall Street.

Her promotion “is a symbolic step,” says Lorraine Hariton, director of Catalyst, an organization that works to promote women in the world of work. “But there is still a long way to go”.

The figures show that there are still mountains to climb to achieve parity and gender equality in the sector.

More strongholds of white men

Women represented, in 2019, more than 50% of employees in the financial services sector in the United States but only 22% of managers (apart from the highest positions), according to a report by Deloitte. According to current trends, this figure would reach only 31% in 2030.

Male financial analysts earned 17% more on average in 2020 than their female counterparts.

You have to work a little harder than men to climb the ranks, to be irreproachable, testify several women.

Prestigious professions and those that pay the most, like investment bankers and traders, still remain strongholds of white men. Sexist remarks still come out from time to time.

“For every Jane Fraser, there are hundreds, thousands of women with the right skills,” notes Muriel Wilkins, of the executive consultancy firm Paravis Partner. “But are we providing them with the opportunities to move forward? “

The lines started to move. Vague promises on the need to diversify recruitments, gradually imposed a real reflection on the substance.

“Slowly but surely, I see leaders who are wondering what equity means within their company (…) and who are wondering what structures they can put in place,” says Muriel Wilkins.

Women’s network

At JPMorgan Chase, America’s largest bank by assets, there has long been an informal network of women. In 2013, the most visible began to organize, when traveling to branches of the establishment, meetings only for women to hear their grievances.

The big boss Jamie Dimon wanted to formalize the various initiatives and created, in 2018, the Women on the move program, says his manager, Sam Saperstein. “This has enabled us to reinvigorate human resources and training programs,” she explains.

Women on the move has thus, in particular, organized a career development program, open to all women in the company. About 500 women participated in the first session last year and 2,000 applied for the second.

To tackle a citadel such as portfolio management, which is the preserve of men, the Girls who Invest organization, founded in 2015, has set itself the goal of having 30% of the money invested in the fund managed by women. world in 2030.

Women currently represent only 6% of managers in venture capital companies according to the association, and only 3% in hedge funds.

The organization wants to prove that, contrary to popular belief, women are not at all turned off by this profession, that it is enough to go and find them.

She therefore surveys university campuses to recruit students, train them and offer them internships.

“The industry has changed a lot over the past five years,” says organization director Katherine Jollon Colsher. “More and more companies now have 50% women among their new hires and are looking to keep that percentage up to the next level,” she says.

“Measuring progress and holding managers to account is a key element” in the promotion of women, says Lorraine Hariton of Catalyst.

Michael Corbat, Jane Fraser’s predecessor, was one of the first in the industry to release statistics on diversity within his firm.

It is also essential, according to Lorraine Hariton, that companies put in place support measures, whether it is sponsorship programs or parental leave.

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