Despite the significant strides women have made in the workplace in recent decades, many industries still suffer from a glaringly obvious gender imbalance. This is particularly true in finance, where male Certified Financial Planners still outnumber their female counterparts 3-to-1, as they have for years.
If we want to close this gender gap, the onus falls on finance leaders to not only encourage women to join the industry but actively recruit, develop and promote them. It’s crucial for organizations to prioritize this, especially if they want to gain the trust and business of female clients who seek advice from CFPs.
Here’s what seven members of Forbes Finance Council recommend for leaders who want to help forge a new narrative about women in finance.
1. Encourage and recruit re-entry candidates.
Some educated, professional and capable women leave the workforce to become stay-at-home moms with young children. Our industry makes a great re-entry career for these highly capable women. Their maturity, life experience and interpersonal skills make them immediately valuable to an advisory firm. The CFP(r) study is even more relevant when you have experience as the CFO of the family. – Paul Ewing, Prosperity Advisory Group
2. Develop an interest in finance from an early age.
This is a pipeline problem that begins much earlier on. Careers in finance should be incorporated into education curriculums to expose children to finance from a young age. – Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital
3. Find the best person for the job.
The best person for the job should get the job. I believe if you approach hiring in this fashion, the statistics will take care of themselves. As an example, using this approach, we have significantly more women than we do men in our company, simply because the individuals in their respective positions were the best candidates. – Shane Hurley, RedFynn Technologies
4. Increase and support financial education in the workplace.
Financial education in the workplace can be effective in bridging the gender gap if it is relative, meaningful and culturally competent. Our data has shown women are more likely to engage in financial wellness programs if employers embrace and encourage all of their employees. – Miguel Vasquez, Financial Fitness Group
5. Capitalize on women’s natural strengths to build strong client relationships.
When I was little, I always wanted to be a nurse — until I discovered blood. Happily, I fell into finance. There are many similarities. I care about my client’s outcomes. I make sure their wealth path is comfortable and they are well-informed and managed professionally. The only thing robots cannot do is have a deeper emotional understanding of their clients. Women can do that in spades. – Sharon Bloodworth, White Oaks Wealth Advisors
Forbes Finance Council is an invitation-only organization for executives in successful accounting, financial planning and wealth management firms. Do I qualify?
6. Focus on female leadership in finance.
There is still a slight stigma that men overall can handle money better than women, and that isn’t necessarily true. Women will be the wealth holders in the world, and organizations must adapt to these changes or risk losing out on this great wealth transfer. Women must be promoted to leading roles in organizations, and women new to the industry should be properly raised to become leaders. – Alexander Koury, Values Quest
7. Prioritize the professional development of women in the industry.
American women are “projected to control upwards of $22 trillion by the year 2020,” by some estimates. Firms that want to capitalize on this opportunity will commit to facilitating the professional development of women in their practices. Starting with clear paths to develop expertise, firms can create client acquisition and financial planning processes that differentiate their female advisors from the pack. – Joe Elsasser, CFP®, Covisum, LLC