Are Financial Services Business Keeping up with Diversity Demands?

Several Financial Services (FS) organisations are resuming hiring since the new year. However, the candidates they need are changing due to the impact of new regulations, changing customer expectations and new talent demands. According to Glassdoor, 67% of job seekers find workplace diversity a critical metric when looking for new opportunities and current employees would like to see an improvement in diversity at their company. Therefore, firms encouraging greater diversity and inclusion is essential to meeting these demands. Additionally, Since April 2022 the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has enforced that for listed companies, at least 40% of their board should be women and introduced strict requirements for transparency about the ethnic diversity of their boards.


Many Financial Services firms have recognised the value of a diverse workforce and are taking steps to improve. FS and Fintech firms have developed their strategies to promote diversity and inclusion. This includes establishing committees or teams to foster an inclusive workplace culture, working with diversity-focused organisations to help build a diverse network, actively sourcing candidates from diverse backgrounds and offering training to employees to raise awareness about D&I. Many banks and brokerages also offer numerous programs to help women and other minorities to launch careers in finance.


Although many FS firms are working hard to achieve their D&I strategies, research suggests that more work is needed to make diversity the norm within many organisations. The FCA recently undertook qualitative research to get a better understanding of the current state of D&I in regulated firms. The findings showed that many firms were in the early stages of the D&I developments and typically started serious efforts in 2019. They also found that many firm’s strategies were generic and lacked clear actions to achieve their goals, however the firms they engaged with were committed and passionate about making strong progress.


Additionally, research from McKinsey shows that although over half of entry level financial services staff are female, this percentage decreases when moving on to more senior roles. It has also been suggested by the FCA that many firms are more focused on addressing gender representation, with other demographic characteristics receiving much less attention. These findings support the notion that not enough work is being done to further improve diversity, which affects firms in many ways. Having a diverse workforce is not only just the right thing to do but it also creates a more agile and profitable organisation and is more likely to improve market share.


D&I is also essential for a healthy working culture and will enable organisations to deliver better outcomes. A truly diverse workplace means minorities take up equal amount of roles as any other demographic with any form of bias against underrepresented groups eliminated. This should begin at the top, within the firms leadership team.