The fintech industry has a gender gap. While it has certainly narrowed in recent years, there still are a ways to go before it will be equitable.
According to Deloitte, in North America, women account for only 21% of both C-suite and senior leadership roles in the financial services industry. And in other regions, there is even less representation. In Europe, for example, women account for only 17% of C-suite roles. To make a difference, we need to consider the obstacles to women entering the industry, as well as solutions the fintech industry can put into place to be more welcoming to women.
Obstacles Preventing Women from Entering Fintech
There are some misconceptions and maybe even misinformation that prevent qualified women from actively pursuing roles in the fintech industry, as well as some actions fintech companies could take to attract them. These include:
- Options: Not everyone in fintech needs to code or even have a role based in technology. At BlueSnap, I work with strong women from a variety of disciplines, from risk and payments to marketing and account management. Of course, we have women coders as well, but the industry needs to elevate the different roles better in order to show the vast range of options for women interested in fintech.
- Education: For those who do want to learn to code, a number of different paths are available to help them get there. Many online options allow people to learn to code at their own pace while being cost-effective. In regards to formal education, we are seeing more and more colleges and universities offering fintech courses and tracks for those who want to code or pursue other avenues within fintech.
- Flexibility: A lack of workplace flexibility can deter women from either entering the fintech industry or reaching its senior roles. Fintech companies need to consider this as they develop their workplace policies, not only to attract women but to stay competitive in the market. Remote workdays and flexible hours are crucial for attracting a diverse workforce.
Create an Inclusive Company Culture
Everyone, regardless of gender, desires a healthy work environment, and that is also key to attracting more women into the industry. Additionally, prospective employees would like to see opportunities for future success in the company. Promoting qualified women into senior roles shows them that they too could join and advance within the organization.
Potential employees will research your company on your website and social media sites like LinkedIn. When they find a diverse workforce with an emphasis on putting women in key roles, they will feel more welcome. Fintech firms need to cultivate a diverse workforce across the organization to demonstrate that it is an important part of their culture.
At BlueSnap, we have created a culture that embraces women, and, like me, several of my colleagues in senior positions are women. We have created a culture that hires, retains and encourages women to be their best and to contribute results for themselves and the company.
Tips for Women Who Want to Succeed in Fintech
Here are a few considerations to help women in fintech make the most out of their work in the industry:
- Stay on Top of the Trends: Fintech is an industry that is constantly innovating. My suggestion is to stay on top of global trends. Often, a financial trend might emerge in one country and then makes its way across the world. Advanced awareness of potential trends and an understanding of the big picture can help put you in a better position to contribute – and to get ahead. Throughout my career, I have always been interested in what’s next in finance, banking and payments. My inquisitive nature has helped me to think about where the industry is headed and how to evolve my career along with the sector.
- Keep It Simple: For fintech and the payments industry, the devil is in the details. You will need to get deep into the weeds and have a thorough understanding. But then, being able to take your knowledge and expertise and simplify it for others can be invaluable. In fintech, where finance and technology combine, the ability to distill information cannot be overlooked.
- Be Persistent: While the state of women in fintech has improved, the gender gap still exists. Your persistence and grit can be the determining factors in your personal success.
The future of fintech is exciting, and women will continue to play an essential role in its success. However, the industry must take the steps today to attract and engage more women on this mission.