Fintech is one of many industries that has traditionally been overwhelmingly male led, with a tiny proportion of women within the workforce and an even smaller percentage in senior leadership roles.
The very nature of fintech makes it primed to embrace diversity, given the focus on innovation, technical advancement and using tech to meet customers’ needs head-on. This qualitative and quantitative process is well established as likely to be more successful when managed by diverse teams with a variety of experiences and perceptions.
However, a Deloitte study has found that under 30% of the workforce in the UK fintech sector is female, and just 17% of executives are women – seemingly indicating that the obvious solution simply isn’t reaching decision-makers.
How Could Gender Diversity Improve the Performance of Fintech Businesses?
The point of gender diversity isn’t a box-ticking exercise where HR teams look to appoint a specific ratio of individuals of a particular gender or ethnicity. In contrast, the focus is on culture, talent, inclusion and showcasing the ethos and values of a company, which naturally translate into customer experiences.
Perhaps one of the major roadblocks has been that, conventionally, the banking and financial sectors have been less than dynamic, without the agility we see elsewhere in the entertainment, retail and automotive sectors.
As new developments, technologies and resources such as machine learning become prevalent, it is now hugely important that companies appreciate the bottom-line value of diverse recruitment, drawing in talented professionals who bring a mixture of creativity, passion, enthusiasm, non-linear thinking and innovation to implement those tools to improve productivity and performance.
Customers are more likely to want to do business with brands that understand them, meet their pain points, provide enjoyable interactions, and, notably, employ people who look and think like them.
A Case Study on the Benefits of Fintech Workforce Gender Diversity
’Wonga Loans Online’, the South African credit lender, is a real-world example of the positive impacts of adopting an inclusive recruitment process.
Software engineer Sulungeka Faltein works for the online loan provider as a software engineer and has spoken about how, at the start of her career, the fintech sector was ‘dominated by men’, and she had to work diligently to ‘break into the boy’s club’.
As attitudes and understanding about diversity and inclusion evolve, Faltein has advanced to a senior position, supporting engineers and developers to deliver first-class experiences, introducing her first-hand knowledge of why diversity truly matters.
Fintech still has a long way to go to meet diversity targets, as the stats we’ve shared indicate, but there appears to be a step change in progress. Ernst & Young found that, after consulting study groups from within the UK industry, a promising 76% of women felt the firms they worked for were inclusive, and 56% felt their company was diverse.