Knowledge Center

This report compares the work-related experiences, perceptions, and attitudes of women and men working in pipeline- and senior-level positions in the financial services industry.

Impetus: While this industry is one marked by low representation of women at senior levels and rumored to be replete with difficulties for women’s advancement, it also is seen as a meritocracy in which hard work is the key to success.

Methodology:

  • Surveys were distributed to more than 2,200 senior- and pipeline-level women and men employed in seven leading securities firms.

  • Nine focus groups were conducted with senior- and pipeline-level women and men representing approximately 60 securities firms throughout New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.

  • Interviews were conducted with six women entrepreneurs who left large securities firms to start their own firms.

Findings: Although the majority of both men and women in financial services are satisfied with their current positions and employers, women report the existence of subtle discriminatory practices. Sixty-five percent of women, compared to 13 percent of men, report that women have to work harder than men do to get the same rewards. Fifty-one percent of women, compared to 8 percent of men, report that women are paid less than men for doing similar work. Forty-two percent of women and 55 percent of men report that projects and clients are assigned fairly with their firms. Eighteen percent of women, compared to 50 percent of men, report that women’s opportunities to advance to senior leadership have improved greatly over the past five years.

Sponsor: Smith Barney