Green fintechs are redefining gender representation in finance
Despite fintech being one of the UK’s most innovative industries, sadly, on a number of levels, some of the stereotypes associated with the more traditional finance world prevail.
One significant example is gender representation. According to an article by Business Today, women make up just 30% of the fintech workforce and 5% of CEOs. We can and should do better.
It seems however that sustainability might be providing a new draw for female talent, with sustainable fintech companies showing a much more balanced gender mix in senior teams. As today is International Women’s Day, it’s time to take a look at why sustainable fintech companies are so attractive to women.
Aligning with personal values
Women represent the largest consumer base in the UK, making around 80% of all spending decisions, according to Mintel’s 2023 Global Consumer Report. They are also the most likely to change their habits to help protect the planet. We’re seeing evidence that this extension of their personal values bleeds into their work life too. A GetSmarter survey identified women as being more likely to have a higher knowledge of sustainability, and as a result being more likely to respond positively to sustainability job roles.
In fintech then, it follows that women are more likely to actively seek a role with a company whose values are close to their own world view. Fintechs have the opportunity to snap up this talent quicker, working with women who want to help shape the green economy, supported by companies who understand their motivations.
Being part of the future
According to recent data from LinkedIn, “sustainability manager” is the second-fastest-growing job title in the UK, and research from ESG Clarity 2021 shows that 45% of sustainable business roles are already held by women. As economies grow, women are already well positioned to be an integral part, and it’s something I’ve seen a clear appetite for among my female colleagues and other women in business.
This trend is only likely to grow, as we see when we look at the attitudes of new workers. A 2023 KPMG survey found that Gen Z are ‘climate quitting’ for more sustainable jobs, voting with their feet when it comes to playing an active role in addressing the climate crisis.
As demand for sustainability roles rises, up by 14% in Q3 2022 alone according to GlobalData, the opportunity for women to play a leading role in the new banking sector grows too. Another study showed that there is a direct correlation between gender diverse leaders and sustainability performance in banks, as women tend to have characteristics that wish to understand and adopt environmental policies with more conviction than men.
However, it’s not only sustainable credentials that will keep women in the sustainable finance sector.
Not having to compromise
Typically, sustainable fintechs are more agile companies, characterised by a focus on the future of banking and creating modern workplaces. The lack of a large corporate headquarters means they can be more agile on workplace policies and pay brackets and can easily improve workplace culture. This can be particularly supportive and attractive to women. According to a LinkedIn Survey in 2022, nearly 52% of the UK female workforce considered leaving a role last year due to lack of flexibility in their working life.
On the counter, companies which retract flexible working policies implemented during the pandemic run the risk of losing this female talent, since women may well consider leaving for companies that make it easier to juggle work and home life. As we enter a new normal in the working world, all fintech companies need to adhere to the ways they can attract and retain top talent who have more opportunities than ever before. During job advertising, companies should be transparent on salary bands and flexible working policies, not to mention using considered language to be inclusive and encouraging to candidates of all genders. That way, from the beginning you can set the right tone for the culture you wish to create.
Closing the gender gap in fintech is a big challenge, but fortunately it’s a challenge we are able to address. As more women are moving into sustainable roles, the green economy can grow along with female representation. Given the current demand for sustainable talent in finance, women are spearheading change and leading the future of the industry, bringing green priorities into all aspects of their working life.