How can female leaders in fintech pave the way for the next generation of women?
The fintech industry continues to struggle with a gender gap that sees women making up just 30% of the fintech workforce.
In recent years, fintech has been seen as an exciting and dynamic sector. There are plenty of opportunities for career progression, high salaries and even the chance to bring about significant social change.
Despite this, many female employees cite harassment or bullying at work. In their charter, InChorus revealed that 85% of harassment-related incidents in UK fintech were related to gender, and 84% of victims were harassed more than once.
This shows that fintech is still not an industry where women can feel welcome and safe enough to progress.
As more women fight for their place in this male-dominated industry, business owners, directors, senior leaders and managers must create a rope ladder for the next generation of women in this industry to follow. Here are five ways they can do this:
- Gender-diverse hiring practices and implicit bias training
One of the most effective ways to ensure a more representative fintech workforce is, of course, by hiring women. However, female founders and managers must also go beyond simply hiring women – they need to seek out female talent across all levels of their company, from junior roles right up to director-level roles.
In addition to this, fintech leaders must tackle implicit bias in the industry head-on. Implicit biases can influence our behaviour without realising it, and 80% of CEOs interviewed in a recent survey recognised a need for diversity within their organisations.
With AI-assisted technology like training programs on unconscious prejudices, it becomes easier than ever before to step back from day-to-day operations, so we all have room.
Mentoring is a process of providing guidance to another person, especially by an experienced, more senior person or expert on how they can acquire skills and knowledge.
Women who work in fintech should actively be offering their time as mentors for women entering into the industry so that both parties get something out of it – the mentee gets valuable advice while having someone with insider connections guide them through their job search.
Meanwhile, this helps seasoned professionals learn what needs fixing when it comes down to recruiting new talent.
- Adopting flexible working practices and parental leave policies
The demand for childcare services has risen sharply in recent years thanks to changing work lives. Offering flexible working and parental leave initiatives are fantastic ways fintech leaders can pave the way for the next generation of women in fintech.
For many women, flexible working hours are critical in allowing them to juggle the increasingly essential responsibilities of a career and motherhood. A recent study revealed that nearly half of mothers don’t get the flexibility they ask for in the workplace.
When applied to fintech, remote working is an effective way for many women to work without compromising their careers/ family life. Several firms have been praised for their open and flexible working environments, which has helped them become leaders in the industry.
- Traineeships and apprenticeship programmes for women
Many fintech companies are failing to offer women fintech applicants the chance to get their foot in the fintech door. By fostering female talent through traineeships or apprenticeship programs, leaders can provide women with an entry point into the industry by laying down their own framework as future applicants follow suit.
- Creating digital communities for women in fintech to network
Fintech companies must create digital communities for women working in fintech – whether they are fintech founders or workers – to network with other like-minded professionals. These networks can be used as a platform for sharing advice and information about how to succeed, posting upcoming job roles and even advertising your services as a mentor.
There are plenty of networking groups fintech founders and workers can join to help them network with women fintech professionals. A quick Google search will help you find the best programmes that highlight the achievements of female fintech pioneers and offer advice and support on how other fintech leaders can encourage gender diversity.
About the author
Lissele Pratt is director and co-founder at Capitalixe.
Lissele was previously director at Pinnacle and was recently listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 Europe Finance 2021 list.