There have been more than a couple of occasions in the past year or so when our own research yielded awkward results when it comes to representation. For instance, a pay survey we ran showed not just a pay gap between women and men in the profession, but that women were not significantly less experienced. But 85% of respondents were male.
It is a matter of historical fact that, years ago, there were more men than women entering financial firms. These people now form the rump of the advice profession. But, with the younger crop, surely the gender balance would be more even?
Yet, when we totted up the scores for our ‘Top 35 Next Generation Advisers 2017’ publication, just five (or 14.3%) were female. This did broadly reflect the entry proportions as, out of 183 entries, 37 (or 20.2%) were from women.
Inevitably, the Top 35 publication prompted social media conversations, and I was glad to see them. People asked if there really were still fewer women entering advice. Someone steered me towards a clutch of female advisers who were clearly doing just as well as their male peers. But they had not previously been on my radar.
Hypothesis: many female advisers do not go out of their way to ‘put themselves out there’. Is this a lack of confidence? I don’t think so. If you do not see yourself represented in a publication, then why engage?
A twitter poll we ran this week asked what puts women off from joining the advice profession the most. 64% said it was a 'boys club culture' while 9% said not enough role models.
Why does it matter to the profession? Well, that question is what have been trying to answer this last week.
We invited four top female IFAs into the Citywire office to debate the issue. There was too much ground covered to do it justice here, please read the summary we put together here or listen to the whole thing in this week's podcast (see below).
It prompted some very lively debate online. But it is a must read/listen for anyone running or working in an advice firm who wants to understand why women are not already a more prevalent force in the profession, why that matters, and what sorts of action can change that.