The financial sector must continue to bet on greater diversity and inclusion of gender, both in its workforce and in the management levels and in the boards of directors, as a factor of competitiveness. But not only in Spain but throughout the world. The recommendation comes from the latest report from the Observatory of Financial Reality (Orfin) on women and the financial sector: the inclusion as a factor of competitiveness, presented this Wednesday at the University of Alcalá de Henares, and in which it is noted that at the international level there is a glass ceiling, which is what makes it difficult, according to experts, the job promotion of professionals in the sector.
Despite this, and according to the report, the parity in management positions and boards of directors in international financial services entities is higher than the average in companies and, even more so, in larger organizations. However, “as promotion progresses, men’s participation increases to the detriment of women, reaching a much higher male proportion at the top of organizations ”, explained Mónica Melle, professor of Financial Economics at the Complutense University of Madrid. There are even subsectors in which women have not reached the participation quotas they should: this is the case of investment companies in the private market, where only 20% of employees are women.
In this sense, “achieving gender equality in the financial sector has become the priority objective in most countries, as it is understood to be a factor in the competitiveness of companies,” says the report, which highlights that “advancing “Towards gender parity at the top will require corporate leaders, both men and women, to see gender equality as a strategic priority in their companies.”
In relation to gender equality as a priority corporate objective, Soledad Nuñez, member of the governing council and of the executive committee of the Bank of Spain, highlighted that the participation of women in managerial positions is fundamentally a matter of economic efficiency: “No having them is wasting talent and growth potential ”.
To correct this situation, proposed two concrete measuress: “establish a diversity policy, with specific objectives, and that companies emphasize that work-life balance is a matter for men and women”. He claimed, on the other hand, that the fact of benefiting from benefits by women, such as reduced working hours, does not have to mean in the long run a reduction in the face of professional promotion.
In the opinion of Mónica Malo, director of communication, external relations and sustainability of the CECA banking association, she pointed out that “although there is still much to be developed, progress has been made in internal measures and also in other external ones, such as the design of financial products. oriented towards women, or investment products channeled towards gender diversity initiatives ”.
In this sense, he pointed out that for address parity, leaders, men or women, have to conceive gender diversity as one of the strategic priorities, since gender balance is important for all stakeholders of financial services entities: workers, clients, shareholders, supervisors and society in general. The biggest brake, points out the report, occurs in the executive committees and in the departments of human resources, marketing, administration and legal matters.
In Spain, the proportion of women employed in the financial sector has increased gradually in the last 34 years, going from 19.2% in 1987 to 51.9% in 2021. In 2020, women represented 33% of the total of directors (13.64% of executive directors) and 16.3% of senior managers of Spanish banking.
These percentages are somewhat higher than the general averages of the companies that report annual corporate governance reports to the CNMV: 23.5% of female directors and 5.2% of executive directors, and even exceed the averages of companies that make up the Ibex 35: 31.26% of female directors and 6.06% of executive directors.