Why 2023 is the Perfect Storm against Women in Finance

The unprecedented blend of macroeconomic and geopolitical factors surrounding the global pandemic has resulted in the rolling back of much of the progress made towards gender parity in Finance.

Norma Gillespie
Chief Executive Officer at Resource Solutions

The journey towards gender parity in Financial Services has, whilst far from plain sailing, largely seen positive movement and notable progress, particularly over the past 6 years since HM Treasury launched the voluntary Women in Finance Charter.

The Charter requires signatories to pledge commitment to supporting the progression of women, setting targets and, crucially, publicly report on progress.   

One of the most positive and impactful data points from the Women in Finance Charter is the rising ambition of these targets – in 2019 only around a third of signatories set a target of at least 40% women in senior management, only 2 years later, the number jumped to almost half. 

However, the number that really matters is the percentage of female representation in the industry and in 2022, for the first time, the number remained flat – 33%. There is no single reason for this, rather it is a blend of unusual (and unfavourable) circumstances.

Women left Financial Services during the pandemic (and many haven’t returned)

The global pandemic starting in 2020 impacted everyone, but the impact on careers was felt disproportionately by women. Across the UK’s five biggest lenders, 10,000 women left banking. 29% women working in financial services left their job either on a permanent basis or took a temporary break during the pandemic whilst 34% of those still working in banking reported that they may consider leaving or moving on from their current firms, according to Accenture.

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