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A career for women is more important than for men

According to the 3rd edition of the report by Antal and the CFA Society Polska "Women in Finance", whose strategic partner is Bank BPH, the female gender almost twice as often as the male one indicates that a career is very important to them - 54% vs. 26%. On the other hand, it is men who rate their level of satisfaction with the development of this career higher than the opposite sex. Women do not lack qualifications, but are often more critical of themselves, and stereotypes and upbringing make them more cautious about planning their professional career.

Despite the over-representation of the male gender in professions that are strictly related to the capital market, this industry does not pose gender barriers - says Monika Grabek, Executive Director, CFA Society Poland. This is evidenced by the many excellent careers our members have made over the course of several years. Employers focusing on diversity should support the professional development of each employee through the availability of many forms of professional development support.

Which areas belong to women?

The next edition of the report "Women in Finance" re-examines the perception of the financial sector by both genders through the prism of women and their place in the industry. Comparing the data with the results of the previous edition, there are small but interesting changes in the responses of the respondents.

The following were assessed as the most feminine areas: funds administration and legal department. An area that is similar for both genders is taxes. Of the 13 areas examined, 7 were assessed as more masculine. Strongest: trading, fund / asset management and, importantly, board / senior management. Almost half of the areas were rated as a place for both sexes: in addition to taxes, financial controlling, sales / client service and treasury / treasury were also indicated. In the case of industries, according to the respondents, shared service centers are the most feminine. This shows that there are no areas reserved only for men in finance.

The existing divisions cease to apply in the social sphere, therefore it is possible that the professional sphere will free itself from the often artificially imposed and outdated segregation. The report similarly assessed the professional areas and industries generally considered as feminine or masculine. However, averaging the answers, it can be noticed that although the greater number of industries is still close to the middle of the scale, this time there is a slight advantage in assessing these industries as dominated by the female gender. What is certain is that the gender direction of the financial world is entirely up to us. From individual people and their decisions regarding career planning or taking the next steps in it - comments Mateusz Bocian, Client Manager, Antal Finance & Accountancy.

Equal opportunities policy, myth or reality?

58% of the respondents to the "Women in Finance" report believe that gender influences the possibility of promotion. This shows how much remains to be done in this area and how slowly the situation is improving. Employers face the challenge of building the belief that development and career have no gender. 38% of respondents declare that their company has implemented an internal regulation regarding the equal opportunities policy.

For 54% of women, a career is very important, which shows the potential that lies dormant in the financial sector - women want to develop and represent a pool of talents from which companies can draw. For this to happen, we must convince women that they have equal opportunities and can develop, but above all - actively support their development and facilitate it with flexible forms of work - says Agnieszka Bukowska, Managing Director of Human Resources, Bank BPH. The respondents' unawareness of the policies applied in organizations also indicates a specific course of action - it is important not only to implement new solutions, but above all to promote already implemented activities and current policies. Actions that appear only on paper, but unnoticed by women and do not affect their self-confidence, the courage to reach for higher positions and the conviction that they will cope with it, will not change much - she adds.

Obstacles to the activation of women in finance

There are no clear preferences when assessing the necessary forms of support. Development programs as well as training and courses for women seem to be the most necessary, with an average score of 3.7 on a five-point scale. 83% of respondents estimate that there are barriers in the financial sector that affect the professional career of women - this is less than compared to 2019, when this percentage was 94%. The greatest external barriers were classified by the respondents as involving women in traditional roles - 32% of responses and legislation (maternity / paternity leave) - 17%. The biggest internal barriers were mentioned by the respondents: façade modesty, according to which women think that it is not appropriate to present themselves in a favorable light (27% of responses), lack of courage to formulate and express their own needs (22% of responses).

Among the most needed forms of professional support for women, there is no clear leader, but the most popular among the respondents are trainings, courses and development programs, i.e. activities that directly raise the qualifications of women. In this case, I really appreciate development and mentoring programs that can help them see their strengths and better plan their career path - explains Małgorzata Żelazko, CFA, Director of Investor Relations and Financial Analysis, Wirtualna Polska Holding. In my opinion, it is also worth asking for the support of the other party - training and programs for men are also extremely important because they help them understand unconscious biases that may unintentionally influence their actions and decisions, including in the field of women's promotion. In order to be able to effectively make a change, we need to change everyone - he adds.

About the study

The third edition of the report "Women in Finance", the purpose of which is not only to analyze the current situation on the labor market, but also to distinguish factors determining women's career, was based on a survey conducted in the second quarter of this year using the CAWI method among 689 respondents representing the financial sector by Antal and CFA Society Poland The strategic partner of the report is Bank BPH, the media patrons of the project are: Parkiet and Rzeczpospolita The report is available for download at: https://antal.pl/wiedza/raport/kobiety-w-finansach-2021

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