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PwC: Barriers need to be broken so women can progress in financial services

In a survey conducted by PwC found 60% of women in financial services (FS) have been talked over or even ignored during meetings.

A similar number of respondents reported that credit was given to another member of staff for an idea that was initially theirs.

PwC found women believe employers should take certain steps in order to improve career progression by bridging the gender gap.

Women believe that employers should create a fair and transparent promotion and appraisals process in order for this to be achieved.

290 professional women, between the ages of 28 and 40 who are working in FS were surveyed by PwC to find out their aspirations and how they feel about the prospects they have in terms of career progression.

PwC also asked what they thought potential obstacles were that stopped them from progressing onto successful careers.

80% of the women surveyed said they were confident they could reach their career aspirations but they do not all want to be CEO’s. However more than half of the women in FS believe that an employer’s diversity status can be a potential barrier to career progression. 

Women want their employers to take a fair, transparent promotion and appraisal process. This was the most significant factor when it came down to career progression.

It was said in the survey the transparency provided should be supported by clear definitions of organisational roles and promotion criteria to help employees understand what is required of them in order to reach the next level of promotion.

PwC has suggested that there are number of ways in which clear definitions can be achieved. The report said: “To encourage more women to apply for promotions, for example, it’s important to review the job criteria for each role and the language used to communicate it through a diversity lens.

“Could “opportunities for travel” be off-putting for candidates with childcare commitments, for example? Could gender neutral language such as “desire to develop” be more universally appealing than overtly masculine words such as “aggressive,” which many women may take as a sign that their chances are limited?”

The survey posed by PwC addresses issues facing women being able to progress with their career headfirst. The report analyses the existing values and culture within some FS organisations.

Along with the key action women believe should be taken, they also included the need for investing in training and continuing education programmes for employees, providing clear definitions of organisational roles, levels and promotion criteria to help employees understand what to expect at the next level and to change workplace culture to support ethical opportunity for progression.

 

By Mishelle Thurai

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