The representation of women within the fintech industry has always been inequitable. And although some positive strides have been taken in recent years to bridge the gender gap, there is still a way to go.
In the UK, women only make up 30% of the workforce in the sector, and only 12% of fintech founders and co-founders are women. To drive the change that we all want to see, it is important that we examine the factors preventing more women from entering the industry, as well as the solutions fintechs can implement to increase inclusivity.
The barriers to women entering the industry
There is a need to educate people about the various paths into tech. There is a misconception that you need a coding background in order to enter the industry, which isn’t true at all. The people I work with come from various disciplines. Hence, there is more we can do to show people the range of roles available in the industry. And for those who want to learn to code, there are so many online platforms that aren’t expensive (some are free) that will allow them to develop this skill set from the comforts of their own home. We are happy to see some universities adding fintech tracks to their curricula.
A lack of work flexibility can also act as a deterrent for women either entering the industry or climbing to those senior positions. When putting together work policies, it is important that companies consider the work life balance that people now demand – such as remote work days and flexible work hours. This will help foster a more inclusive workplace.
What the industry can do to be more inclusive
The key to attracting more women into the industry is by creating a healthy work environment that people regardless of gender want to be a part of and stay in. Having a senior management team with multiple women makes women in all positions more open to your organization. When the culture is right, it makes it easier to just focus on hiring the right talent.
One of the first things people do when looking for a job or preparing for an interview is to go on platforms like LinkedIn, to understand who the key stakeholders are. Therefore, when they see diversity throughout the company, especially at the top, they will feel more welcome. It’s one of those things where, if you can see it, then you can be it.
At BlueSnap for example, we have created a culture where women feel welcome and are able to rise to very senior positions. We are fortunate that our senior executive team is very diverse with talented women in senior level positions.
How to thrive in the industry
There are a couple of key considerations for women entering this industry.
For one, as the industry is always innovating, I would recommend keeping on top of what’s happening globally and not just locally. For example, if you are based in the US, where payments are quite card-centric, it is imperative that you look into the developments in other countries. And learn about those emerging payment trends. Understanding the big picture will place you in a better position to get ahead. The more you know, the more positioned you are to help.
Additionally, payments are a detailed oriented business. You have to get into the weeds of things. So, learn about the little frames that help tell the big picture, and understand the importance of keeping things simple. Throughout my career, I have always had an eye for what’s next in finance, banking, and payments. I’m inquisitive by nature, so thinking about where the industry is headed has always helped me navigate my career and be a part of the continuous evolution of the sector.
The future of the industry is incredibly exciting and women will play an integral role in its success. Hence, we must take the necessary steps now to attract and keep women fulfilled within the fintech sector.