In recent years, more and more companies have been focusing on increasing female presence in their sector and company. While some sectors did succeed in attracting more female talent, the financial sector definitely didn’t. At Female x Finance, we believe that in order to increase female presence in the financial sector, we need to do it completely differently.

The increasing focus on diversity in the financial sector

Research shows that:

  • Countries with higher levels of gender equality have higher economic growth;
  • Companies with more women on their boards have higher returns;
  • Peace agreements that include women are more successful;

Diversity has been a topic of discussion for years now. Only in recent years, research also proves that diverse teams lead to higher returns and more successful decision making. As a result, more and more companies are focusing on diversity. Not because they have to, but because they truly see the benefits of a diverse team.

According to a research by PwC (2017) 75% of the Dutch companies in the financial sector are actively searching for female talent, but only 36% of them saw an increase in female hires1. Ano 2021, the percentage of companies focusing on attracting more women is even higher, the war for talent is on and female talent in the financial sector is still rare. For example: A study by NVP and Level20 (2021) showed that only 17% of starters in Private Equity is female2. This is probably even lower in M&A.

1. IEXProfs. (2018). Financiële sector verdient meer vrouwen
2. NVP. (2021). Diversity in Private Equity & Venture Capital in The Netherlands

Where are the women?

So this leads us to the question: Are there women interested in a career in finance?

According to our research, there are women interested in finance, at least, more than that are working in the sector right now:

  • c. 30% of the students who do a finance master in The Netherlands are female;
  • The Female x Finance Kick-Off event hosted 200 women and was sold out in only 5 days;
  • Not only finance students, other study backgrounds show interest in finance as well: at the Kick-Off event 24% of the women have a technical background, and 13% have a business background.

So, women are interested in finance, and companies in the financial sector do want to hire female talent. Then, why are women still so underrepresented in the financial sector?

Let’s create an ‘Old-Girls Network’: “The way in which women who have been to the same university help each other to find good jobs.”

The ‘Old-Boys Network’

While women are interested in a career in finance, there are a few things that hold them back from actually starting their career in this sector. We did our research and talked to students, starters, recruiters and companies to get to the bottom of this.

We notices three ‘lacks’: the lack of network of women in finance (the term ‘old boys network’* exists for a reason), the lack of insights in the industry, companies, career opportunities, and the lack of guidance to choose the right career path for you (for example: where to apply, how to negotiate on your salary, and maybe recognizable: how to handle a team full of men?).

*The ‘Old-boys Network’: “The way in which men who have been to the same university help each other to find good jobs.”

Change today’s hiring approach

In order to make a difference, we have to do it differently. To attract more female talent, companies should stop solely focusing on recruitment marketing and start focusing on making the sector and their company visible, attractive and inviting. Ever heard of employer branding?

”In today’s competition for top talent, your visibility and reputation as an employer is a key factor in whether a candidate will apply and will take your job – or leave it” (Linkedin, 2020)1.

Your employer brand is the message that you push to the marketplace. Having a strong employer brand will increase your visibility and reputation, which will result in increasing interest in the sector and your company, a broader female talent pipeline, a boost in female applicants, and eventually, a boost in retention.

So, it comes down to four reasons to invest in your brand:

  • Increasing interest in the sector and your company
  • A broader female talent pipeline
  • A boost in female applicants
  • A boost in retention

Committed to increasing female presence at your company? Reach out to

1. LinkedIn. (2020). 5 Steps to Crafting a Highly Social Talent Brand.

“Change today’s hiring approach: Stop solely focusing on recruitment marketing and start focusing on making the sector and your company visible, attractive and inviting.”