What’s the secret to getting more young women in financial careers?
At a New York event hosted by The Wall Street Journal, senior women in finance offered advice on creating equal opportunities for women, and creating a pipeline helping women advance from entry-level to positions of power.
What are some of the key takeaways?
“Top female leaders say the financial services industry must do more for women.” Companies need to set targets and goals for diversity; they just won’t happen by themselves.
We need to promote finance careers to young women much earlier, before they start making decisions about career paths. “Companies should promote finance careers to women during high school and early college years, not just at the final career fair their senior year,” says Lisa Carnoy, of Bank of America U.S. Trust.
Even more importantly, we need to follow a policy of “show me, don’t tell me.” Millennials and GenZ workers need to see actual women – with successful careers and healthy lifestyles – in the positions and professions they aspire to. Telling them you can do it is not enough. They need to see it.
“Often if individuals don’t see someone like them, they think a firm or industry isn’t “the place for me,” says Carnoy.
How true that is! We are still dismayed when we browse through industry websites and view a sea of faces more reflective of the 1950s than the 21st century. It doesn’t mean those people aren’t professional and qualified. But it does make potential (and diverse) clients and employees question whether those advisors can really understand their financial reality and challenges.