Finances have usually not welcomed women. But yesterday's “boys club” is changing. A sign of the times: Financial firms rule this year's list of the best jobs for women. Nine financial services and insurance organizations have earned a spot in the top 20 – three times as many as last year.
What's behind the shift? One reason for this is that the industry is evolving and the value of financial advice is changing. Almost nowhere is the digital transformation shaking an industry like in the financial sector. With the swipe of a finger on a smartphone, investors can access their accounts and see how their portfolios are performing.
But women add value in ways that robo-advisors cannot calculate.
"In the past, the value of financial services or the value of a financial advisor was building a portfolio or trading stocks," said Kristin Johnson, HR director at Edward Jones, number 5 on the list. “That part of the financial services business has been replaced by computers. It has shifted the emphasis to financial advice. "
Women tend to possess skills that are now sought after in customer care, Johnson said.
"The coaching that investors seek really requires deeper listening and empathy – just some of the qualities women in the industry have recognized," said Johnson.
To identify the best jobs for women, Fortune worked with people analytics company Great Place to Work to analyze anonymous survey feedback from more than 4.7 million US employees.
Eighty-five percent of the ranking is based on what women report about their workplace and how these experiences compare with those of men. Fifteen percent of the remaining rank is based on how well women are represented from the front lines to the executive suite.
Diversity is a business imperative
Our list is the latest sign that the financial services industry is now recognizing gender diversity as a strategic issue affecting business results.
"Financial institutions see that diversity benefits all stakeholders," said Sarae Janes Lewis, director of associate and client experience at Pinnacle Financial Partners, a Nashville-based financial services company ranked fourth on the list.
"When employees love the place they work, the business, customer experience, community impact and engagement are greater, and financial results are better," said Lewis. "Ultimately, the investment is worth it."
Culture expander, not "culture fit"
The freedom to express yourself is another reason women join and stay in the best jobs for women. Women are constantly being told that they need to change – be more assertive or wear more makeup – to be successful. In jobs on our list, women are encouraged to bring their authentic selves to work.
Jennifer Windbeck, Senior Vice President and Head of Branches, Cafes and Private Banking at Capital One, says women no longer need to present themselves as “male” to be there.
"The industry has moved from an atmosphere in which women had to adapt to traditionally male norms – adapting their communication styles, networking approaches, leadership strategies, business decisions and even clothing in order to be successful – to an environment in which individuality is accepted", so Windbeck said. Capital One landed at number 12 on our 2020 list.
In other words: women feel more involved in these jobs. And this sense of inclusion has set the best jobs for women apart from other organizations, according to Great Place to Work research.
In the same study, we found that men, on average, feel more involved than women at work. But the inclusion experience improves for women as they move up.
Kristin Johnson, Head of HR at Edward Jones, keeps her virtual team in touch with "mug shots" – a spark of fun at company-wide zoom meetings. Great place to work
Why do women feel more involved at the top? One theory is that executives are more involved in making decisions. Research from Great Place to Work shows that involving employees in decisions that affect them goes a long way in making them feel included.
Another reason the financial services industry is increasingly welcoming women is because companies are getting more involved with their services. This means that performance programs do not exclude groups of employees and support employees' lives outside of work.
Johnson recalls when there were fewer women at Edward Jones and she was pregnant with their youngest son, who is now 19.
“I remember telling my leader that I was pregnant when I had my first child and I was so embarrassed. Feeling like I did something wrong, I lost eight weeks of weight.
"We are now offering four months of parental leave – paid parental leave – for all of our financial advisors."
Advantages do not discriminate
Flexible benefits for everyone, not just women, are essential to fill any gender gaps. Many of the best jobs for women offer shared, or in some cases, equal parental leave, one of the largest structural imbalances in policy for men and women in today's workforce.
At the top of the list is American Express, No. 15 on the list. The company gives mothers 135 paid days (20 weeks) and 100 paid days for fathers. The US average is just four weeks, according to a survey by Mercer on paid parental leave.
The financial industry is also holding onto its top female employees through inclusive social and networking opportunities. Steakhouse dinners and wheeling and the 18-hole golf trade are obsolete. And after-work drinks can exclude women, who still take on most of the responsibility for caregiving around the world.
Capital One employees can exchange ideas with customers and executives at cultural and spectator sports events, in fitness classes and at lunch. Social media forums like Slack offer a digital connection so that "networking feels democratic and there is something for everyone," said Windbeck.
Pinnacle started with an open door attitude that helps women crack the glass ceiling, Lewis said.
“Part of that is things like the lack of an executive suite. Our executives are in the same offices as everyone else, ”said Lewis. “And they have lunch at the same table. Our CEO spends three days with every new employee and has a special talent for names and knowledge of people. "
Pull down the ivory tower
Responsive leaders are critical to what we call removing executive blinders. Another notable finding from the women in the workplace study was that men are twice as likely to believe that workers are treated fairly regardless of gender compared to women.
This blind spot increases as employees climb the ladder. Compared to female managers, male managers are 2.6 times more likely to believe that employees are treated fairly in the workplace, regardless of their gender.
It seems that many male leaders are disconnected from the reality of their younger and female colleagues. The proximity to inequality awakens something important for a fair workplace.
Edward Jones removes the executive blinders by incorporating unconscious bias training into the hiring and training process. The company is also changing the promotion process so that advancement of leaders doesn't depend on your proximity to leaders or exclude underrepresented groups.
"It doesn't just depend on who you know – who are the ones in your circle and who might be just like you," Johnson said.
Help for parents with a triple duty
While some argue that maternal benefits are self-reinforcing, in the face of a pandemic, such measures are essential to keep women in the workplace.
Parents juggle work, childcare and homeschooling, and the data suggests that women are most likely to leave work to manage childcare during the pandemic.
But Edward Jones puts radical flexibility on his list of perks so that women "don't have to make career choices based on the challenging times we go through," Johnson said. "We want to make sure that as women progress in their careers, they can also take care of their personal lives and take care of their friends, family and what is in their personal life."
Capital One also keeps women on the workforce by supporting multitasking parents. Employees receive a discount for personal or virtual tutoring and free access to the online summer camp.
Representation at the top is critical to advancing women in the workplace and an overall positive employee experience. At Edward Jones, the top executive – managing partner Penny Pennington – is a woman. The company's best-producing financial advisor is also a woman – Jennifer Marcontell. A total of three of the eight members of the Executive Committee are women.
Edward Jones' Women & # 39; s Leadership Experience program expands the representation of women from entry level to executive level. This initiative was attended by a team of 22 high potential female executives, seven of whom were women in color, and participated in an eight-month program. And of those 22, 70% had a job change and 61% were promoted.
Overcoming the Fraud Syndrome
Representation in senior positions is also important to curb the fraud syndrome, which affects women more than men.
In a seminal study in the 1970s, psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes identified the fraud phenomenon as an "internal experience" of "intellectual phoniness" that seems to be particularly common among "high-performing women".
The same study found that cheating syndrome scratches us when we find ourselves in a role that would have been unfamiliar or unreachable to our parents. The higher the number of women in an organization, the more likely it is that they will feel inadequate and suffer from fraud syndrome.
"I've been around for quite a while," said Johnson, who moved from operational development to branch development to her role as chief human resources officer.
“In 2014 I was asked to join our Management Committee while I was in an industry development role. This is our group of 20 executives who at that time … joined forces with our managing partner. And I would still sit there and think, "Someone is going to come in and pat my shoulder and tell me I shouldn't be here." Like, "You're in the wrong meeting," said Johnson.
"I am very grateful to have mentors at Edward Jones who have really supported me and built my confidence to really get this out of my head and be who I am and focus on the strengths that I am bring to the table. "
Mentoring the next generation of women leaders
Johnson shares her experience with the fraud syndrome when she coaches younger employees: “I try to coach others because you can definitely get on your own head and need someone to help you focus on your work at Hand."
When people are judged first as individuals rather than members of a group, there is a real sense of inclusion. And that's another part of the work for women.
"I really never saw myself as a woman with Edward Jones," said Johnson. "It really wasn't something that I was challenged with or that I think would limit my options during my career."
The boys' club culture collects cobwebs in the best workplaces for women. Inclusion is the new currency for finance.
Click here for the full lists: The 75 best large jobs for women and the 25 best small and medium-sized jobs for women.
Claire Hastwell is Content Marketing Manager at Great Place to Work.
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