Is the World of Financial Services Really Waking up to Diversity and Inclusion?

The numbers are pathetic. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics women make up about half of the workforce in financial services firms in America. Yet 20 percent of executive roles, 22 percent of board positions and 12 percent of chief executives officers are women.Research supports that organizations with diversity at the top outperform their counterparts in industry-leading profitability – to the tune of 33 percent.Related: Why Women Keep Knocking Their Heads Against the Glass CeilingIn an industry that must rise to the challenge of an increasingly diverse client base, the world of financial services is waking up to the need for D&I. Unfortunately, not the recruiter that I spoke with …Dear Mr. Recruiter,I’m extraordinarily proud of my more than 25 years of experience in financial services. And rather than immediately sharing with me, ever so subtly that I’m too old, and wouldn’t be able to get along with ‘younger’ wholesalers, let me suggest another way to look at the situation:
  • A woman who entered financial services in 1994, was likely the only trailblazing woman in the room. Check out her guts.
  • A woman who coded a website and began using email marketing in 1998. Check out her vision.
  • A woman setting sales records and still passed over for promotions. Check out her tenacity.
  • A woman who began teaching the industry about social media in 2006 and wrote a book about it in 2015. Check out her ability to spot trends.
  • A woman who kicked a “safe” job in corporate America to the curb to launch her own side hustle. Check out her entrepreneurial drive.
  • A woman who created the first-ever podcast dedicated to women in financial services . Check out her commitment to mentor the next generation.
  • And sadly, a woman invited into more bedrooms than boardrooms. Check out her continued resolve to reinvent our industry.I am not alone. Women with a long career in financial services are our generation’s trailblazers and disruptors – something most recruiters wouldn’t pass over so quickly.Sincerely,Sheri FittsP.S. Diversity and inclusion also includes workers of all backgrounds and ages.I’m passionate about the world of financial services (25 years and all!). We change the lives of millions of Americans. One way I'm showing my love is by rebooting my podcast, Women Rocking Wall Street, a passion project dedicated to increasing female leaders in financial services. (More to come this March!)If you know any other disruptors who are busting barriers, or pushing our industry toward more diversity and inclusion, please let me know. (FYI: This includes men!) I’d welcome the opportunity to meet them and chat a bit more about their efforts.