Putting gender equity imperatives into action | Insights | Bloomberg Professional Services

Yet, as Bloomberg LP Chairman Peter T. Grauer writes, “We are still far from gender equality being a global standard.” Despite promising data about women entering the workforce in the financial sector, women only hold about 24.5% of executive roles, which tracks with gender representation in leadership roles across other industries as well.

According to McKinsey & Company, Women have a tough time getting a foothold on the corporate ladder in financial services overall but particularly in the asset-management sector. There, the representation of women — and especially women of color — declines at every position after entry-level and has the lowest amount of representation in the C-suite.

BWBN California looks to grow the pipeline for women in the financial sector

With a commitment to narrow this gender gap, female senior leaders in investment management founded the Bloomberg Women’s Buy-Side Network (BWBN), now in its eighth year with 11 chapters on six continents.

In the fall of 2023, the California chapter of the BWBN hosted two events in collaboration with Bloomberg non-profit partner, Synergist Network, in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The events paired 50 senior-level mentors with at least 15 years of industry experience and more than 50 professionals in the first 10 years of their careers. The events also provided private sessions on executive and board-level recruitment best practices and offered advice for new female buy-side professionals on how to better position themselves for future leadership opportunities.

Jaya Gupta, partner at Foundation Capital, said the events offereda unique opportunity to meet a wide range of successful women,” adding, “as a venture capitalist, I was inspired by the role models I saw across various finance verticals.”

Latest GEI report shows much work remains for a gender-equal workplace

The recently published 2023 GEI report allows BWBN members to review and analyze data on gender equity initiatives at 620 companies in 54 industries from 45 countries, including new GEI members from Ecuador, Kuwait and Luxembourg. The GEI measures companies’ progress toward a gender-equal workplace through the lens of five key pillars:

  • Leadership and talent pipelines to include nurturing and retaining talent and encouraging female representation on corporate boards.
  • Equal pay and gender pay parity that promote equal pay for equal work, as well as action plans for closing the gender pay gap.
  • An inclusive culture where policies, benefits and programs contribute to a work environment where all employees are valued and receive equal opportunities.
  • Anti-sexual harassment policies designed to address and prevent issues of sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • External brand that represents women as an integral part of company culture and the global economy while demonstrating support for women in advertising and the community.

Insights on these five pillars from the 2023 report include data showing that companies with women CEOs have higher representations of women leaders and employees at all levels.

The latest GEI report also shows some (but still minimal) improvement on gender pay gap issues, with reporting companies noting a gender pay gap that has decreased from 19% to 17.6% since 2022’s report. The GEI notes that when the percentage of women in the top 10% pay bracket matches the percentage of women in executive leadership, it’s a strong indication that a company is paying female employees in accordance with their job titles. The gender pay gap is also about 50% lower in companies headed by a female CEO.

The 2023 GEI showed that companies in the communications, financial and technology sectors scored highest on the inclusivity of corporate culture. However, the U.S. still lags behind developed nations in family and medical leave policies. Whereas the average family and medical leave among GEI respondents was 11.31 weeks of full pay, the U.S. average is just under 11 weeks of leave and a return-to-job guarantee but no pay.

In addition, GEI data indicates companies remain slow to discourage or discipline sexual harassment in the workplace. Government action tends to precede corporate action, and, to date, only 35% of GEI-reporting companies prohibit NDAs for sexual assault and harassment cases.

Paving the way for the next generation of BWBN women

The annual GEI report points to disclosure as the first step in creating gender-equal workplaces. As more companies continue to report and establish action plans for change, Bloomberg will continue to track progress and monitor areas that need improvement. Take a deeper dive into the data from the 2023 GEI here.

The Bloomberg Women’s Buy-Side Network hosts events and other engagement opportunities to support women with job mobility, leadership development, networking and education. Sign up to explore or participate in your regional chapter’s events and educational opportunities.

BWBN California’s first event of 2024 will be in Los Angeles on February 27 and will be hosted at the Skirball Cultural Center.


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