Women remain underrepresented in the Fintech industry even though it is broadly accepted that diversity in the workplace is hugely important for innovation amongst many other things. Fintech is an industry based on innovation – so why are we still in a situation where men are the prevalent sex? Innovate Finance which represents the UK’s Fintech community pulled together a 2016 powerlist of women in Fintech and there is impressive talent within the industry, but they remain in traditionally more female roles, such as PR and marketing. Quite shockingly, only 21 of the 260 financial software member companies had been founded by women.
Diverse teams perform better
A huge body of research points to the fact that diverse teams perform better. Why? Because if all team members have similar backgrounds, education, and identities, they typically bring similar ideas to the table and challenging the status quo can be impossible. Diverse teams may be disruptive in the beginning of their formation, but the potential results are huge as a wider range of opportunities can be identified.
Female traits allow Fintech firms to excel
There are a range of traditionally female traits that are viewed as important for Fintech firms in particular. A lot of these firms are fairly green and there is turbulence as growth is sought. Traits of empathy, collaboration and natural and fluid communication are more often associated with the female sex.
Don’t ignore half the target market
Approximately 50% of the target market will be women and a firm that ignores their particular needs and desires is on a path to disaster. Fintech businesses need the input of women who understand other women and can deliver products and services that will sell to them. This goes back to ensuring that the ‘voice of the customer’ is heard within the organisation.
How to attract more women
There is to some extent natural selection here and women have been underrepresented in IT organisations for many years. This is not a new occurrence – but it does mean that organisations need to work that bit harder to overcome the challenges of hiring great female talent, and retaining it. These are a few ideas:
- Look at the recruitment policy and check it attracts or at least does not deter female applicants.
- Speak to the hiring managers and help them to understand the power of diverse teams.
- Look at your HR policies and ensure they support mothers. Think about work life balance and flexibility for those with dependents. Also take a look at the maternity policy.
- Take a look at your recruitment advertising materials and ensure there is nothing obvious that would be a deterrent to women, such as pictures of rooms full of only men.
There are aspects of the Fintech industry that likely make it a more challenging environment for some women. Start-up industries typically require a higher level of time and emotional commitment that can deter women who have dependents. However the female role is vital for the success of Fintech firms, so the organisations within it need to find a way to make it work.