White Men ’30 Times Likelier to Succeed in Finance’: Study Highlights Barriers for Ethnic Minority Women

White Men '30 Times Likelier to Succeed in Finance': Study Highlights Barriers for Ethnic Minority Women

Research reveals the significant disparities in career progression within the financial services sector, with white men from higher socio-economic backgrounds having a significant advantage over working class ethnic minority women.

A recent study conducted by The Bridge Group for Progress Together has shed light on the stark inequalities in career progression within the finance industry. The research found that white men from higher socio-economic backgrounds are 30 times more likely to succeed in financial services compared to working class ethnic minority women. These findings highlight the urgent need for diversity and inclusion measures in the sector. While efforts are being made at grassroots levels to address these disparities, more needs to be done to create a truly inclusive industry.

Catalyst Education Programme Aims to Break Down Barriers

Andrien Meyers and Gavin Lewis, both from non-white backgrounds, founded the Catalyst Education Programme to address the lack of diversity in the financial sector. Inspired by their shared experiences as minorities in a predominantly white industry, they recognized the need for change. The program aims to bring in more diverse talent and create opportunities for individuals from different backgrounds to thrive in the finance sector. By fostering a diverse pool of talent, they believe decision-making will improve and businesses will benefit.

Aspiring Young Professionals Hope for a More Inclusive Future

Anoushka, a 17-year-old participant in the Catalyst Education Programme, emphasizes the importance of seeing people who look like her in the industry. While some firms claim to prioritize diversity and inclusion, she feels that these statements are not always reflected in the workplace. She hopes that in a few years’ time, the finance industry will become more diverse and inclusive.

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Maria, another 17-year-old on the program, acknowledges the prevalent stereotype of finance being dominated by white men. However, working with other young people from similar backgrounds has given her the confidence to pursue a career in finance without being deterred.

Aahil, also a student on the program, highlights the barriers faced by individuals from non-traditional backgrounds, such as the complexity of industry jargon and the prevalence of nepotism. The after-school sessions provided by the Catalyst Education Programme have helped level the playing field, giving individuals like him the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the industry.

Slow Progression for Working-Class Women

The study conducted by Progress Together also revealed that women from working-class backgrounds face a significant “double disadvantage,” progressing 21% more slowly than their peers from more advantaged families. Dr. Louise Ashley, author of “Highly Discriminating: Why the City Isn’t Fair and Diversity Doesn’t Work,” explains that while businesses are making efforts to attract diverse talent at entry-level positions, there is still pressure for individuals to conform to a certain environment. This pressure can be psychologically exhausting and hinder career progression.

Conclusion: The study’s findings highlight the urgent need for increased diversity and inclusion in the finance sector. While grassroots initiatives like the Catalyst Education Programme are making strides in breaking down barriers, more comprehensive efforts are required to create an inclusive industry. Businesses must collect and report diversity and inclusion data to ensure accountability and progress. By embracing individuals from non-traditional backgrounds and fostering a truly diverse and inclusive environment, the finance industry can benefit from varied perspectives and improved decision-making, ultimately leading to a more equitable and prosperous future.

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