Women in finance have to ask for promotions, men don’t: Survey

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Far fewer women than men are promoted in the financial sector unless they first apply for seniority, a sign of institutional gender bias, according to a new study in Australia.

A survey of 2,000 professionals in the financial sector showed that 76% of men were offered a promotion at least once without asking for it, compared to 57% of women. The study was compiled by lead researchers Ardea Investment Management and the Australian National University in collaboration with industry experts.

The results provide “proof of this culture that things happen to men without asking,” said Bronwen Whiting, who worked on the survey and is a lecturer in applied statistics at the university. “It cannot be up to women to act differently to fix it.”

Australia is among the countries that can claim some success in tackling gender inequalities. For example, a report by consultancy firm Kearney this year showed Australia topped the UK, US and India in the proportion of female parliamentarians and female board members. in its first 100 companies. Still, the latest survey results show lingering shortcomings, including the fact that male fund managers on average earn more than twice as much as women.

Male quantitative research analysts are paid 43% more than women, and men in compliance positions received an additional 76%, based on 2019 data. Official Australian figures assess the overall pay gap between the sexes at 14%. In the UK, the gap in financial services is well over 20%, according to an analysis of government data.

The Ardea-Australian National University study found that women demand pay increases and promotions at the same rate as men, and when they do, there is no gender difference in terms of receiving them. Yet the gap appeared when companies took the initiative in promotions.

“One of the arguments put forward as to why women are paid less is that we are too nice,” Laura Ryan, research manager at Ardea, Sydney, said in an interview. “Looks like we’re asserting ourselves, but if we’re not, we’re definitely missing out. Gender is a very important factor in determining salary. “

Glass ceilings and gender pay disparities remain persistent problems globally in the financial sector. One of the implications for women is that they end up falling behind in saving for their retirement compared to men, Ryan said.

Whiting, from the Australian National University, said she hoped leaders recognize that progress has been slow and that “it’s not something we can talk about once a year on the Day. international woman, then forget about it.

Ryan said that many colleagues in the financial industry believed there was no gender gap, adding that “although there is all this training on unconscious bias and everyone seems to think that the problem is solved, the results show that it is certainly not solved and that we still have quite a way forward. “

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