It seems that companies all around the globe are on the mission of attracting more women in the financial sector, unfortunately with very little success. As statistics show, women in this industry add up to a 35.2% of all employees, with only 15% of them on managing and executive positions. When counting on the fact that women produce far better results in this sector, it is understandable why all investment banks are on the constant look out for capable women professionals.
Keep calm and be a Woman
While men are keener to take bold risks, they are also well familiar with losing substantial figures because of their cutthroat attitude. David Hesketh, the COO of Financial Skills Research, reported that his company tested 326 interns by giving them the opportunity on the trading simulation software. While all intern lost money, the statistic have shown that women in fact lost significantly smaller amounts.
The renowned investment banker-turned-neuroscientist, John Coates, claims that the testosterone of young traders is making their decisions for them. It is in fact influencing the final outcome of the trade solely because of the atmosphere in the room and irrational drive which makes the inexperienced male trader uncomfortable and willing to take risky decisions with no prior consideration of the outcome. John agrees that women should have a predominant position when it comes to important decision in trading.
The information technology is no different. According to HESA, just 19% of the graduates in the sector of Computer Science in the UK are female students. This number is declining for a decade now, with fewer women candidates interested in CS on an annual level. The pattern repeats itself in the private equity sector and even quantitative finance.
Wanted! More Women in Boardrooms
Ironically, while they produce significantly better results in all of the aforementioned financial industries, women have very little interest in pursuing careers within this domain. Well educated and capable women are simply interested in other positions and other jobs, and even the great majority of the ones who find themselves involved in the financial sector are eager to leave it in mid-career.
A former Goldman Sachs trader, Lex Van Dam, one of the partners in the hedge fund Hampstead Capital and the author of the BBC series Million Dollar Traders, agrees that there should be far more women in the trading business and supports the initiative to encourage women to consider a career in this field. In his words – there is no difference when it comes to analytical capabilities, men and women are equal.
We do know that women tend to be statistically better traders than men, – Lex continues – they just need to be true to themselves and not let themselves be bullied. Male traders like to joke around and provoke other men and women alike. Successful traders know when to ignore a bad joke and when to stand their ground.
He continues to support the idea of introducing a 40% average quota of women in the boardroom, claiming that numbers are a clear indicator that female decision makers are much needed.