In Focus: Advice for Women  

Female candidates surge in financial services

Female candidates surge in financial services
Photo: Christina Morillo via Pexels

Diversity in financial services has received a boost as research reveals half of all candidates applying for jobs in the sector during the past three months have been women.

According to data from recruitment company Core-Asset Consulting, the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, coupled with a more flexible approach to hybrid working, has seen more women than ever apply for jobs in UK financial services.

The Edinburgh-based firm’s sixth annual Salary Guide for the Scottish financial services sector had predicted a lack of childcare and home schooling would hamper women with young children – particularly those in senior management positions.

But nearly half of candidates registering in the last quarter have been women, in contrast to the previous quarter which saw women fall back from applying, with just 35 per cent of total applicants being women.

Louise Powrie, director of financial and professional services at Core-Asset Consulting, said: “In the past four months, we’ve seen a significant rise in the number of female candidates applying for roles against the previous quarter, coinciding with employers looking to tap into a talented female market by adapting their working practice.

“More and more employers are recognising the need for flexibility, particularly for candidates with young children, and are embracing hybrid working patterns.

“Though there is still a shortage of women within senior management roles, specifically in wealth management, finance and tech firms, we are beginning to see a better gender balance across the board.”

It’s now thought a flexible working culture and fundamental industry changes spawned from the pandemic, will push greater diversity in the workplace.

Earlier this month (September 2021), Dominie Moss, founder of The Return Hub, told FTAdviser In Focus there were still too many barriers in place preventing senior women actually achieving their employment goals.

Moss set up her recruitment business in 2016 after seeing a need to help more women back into the workplace, saying it was important for companies to think differently about where they looked for candidates.

According to Moss, traditional recruitment models are "broken" and put up too many barriers which affect women in particular from making a return to financial services.

She said because most recruiters tend to pull together shortlists from people already working in similar roles at competitors, and CVs with career gaps often get screened out, many candidates with great skills were finding the barriers too hard to cut through.

This particularly affects talented women, who may have taken a two- to three-year career break and may not be able to even get their CV in front of the right people as a result.