By Suzanne Patrick-Lawrence
Women play an increasingly important role in the financial sector each year. McKinsey estimated that women controlled $10.9 trillion in assets in July of 2020 (just over one-third of estimated total household assets), predicting a trend toward women controlling a larger proportion by 2030. (1) The need to serve the growing female demographic necessitates a fundamentally different approach to managing a professional financial services firm. To stay competitive, firms will need to focus on recruiting and retaining female talent.
Re-Evaluate Your Firm’s Approach to Service Delivery
Financial services firms will need to engineer solutions and delivery models in response to the specific challenges of professional women. On the whole, women tend to earn less than men, (2) which can mean exhausting retirement funds more quickly. However, the gender pay gap is closing as each generation of women enters the workforce with greater financial savvy. More women are starting their own businesses; in January 2021 The Motley Fool estimated that women own 42% of all companies in the U.S., employing 9.4 million people. (3) A key driver of competitive advantage will begin with a firm’s insights into the diverse needs of women across segments and age groups.
Cultivate a Woman-Friendly Work Environment
Financial services firms with historically male teams may need to rethink the way they communicate, conduct meetings, manage staff, and set expectations. One key factor is allowing for more flexible work arrangements, such as flex hours and the ability to work from home. But above all, women in the workforce need to feel like their voices are being heard and that their opinions are considered when making important decisions. The necessary paradigm shift is often more difficult than it seems. A firm needs to create an atmosphere of trust where people believe that they can speak openly.
Actively Recruit Women
Companies often fail to define a clear and effective recruiting and talent retention strategy. Do you want to be the first and last career for young rising graduates, or do you prefer to work with seasoned talent, recruiting from pools of more experienced candidates? Do your firm’s clients value face-to-face presence in the local areas where they live, or are they more focused on finding specialized solutions for their unique needs? What qualities have your best clients said they most valued about working with your firm specifically? Questions such as these will shape your recruiting strategy, because every firm needs to look for talent pools with a concentration of candidates that match the core strengths of the business. Think about how and where you could find female rising stars to grow with your business.
We Are Here to Help
Do your firm’s current practices and processes align with where the market is headed over the next 10 years? If you are not sure or would like to discuss how we can work with you to strengthen your company’s position in the marketplace, take the first step and reach out to Advisor Business Solutions by emailing [email protected] or calling 562-439-4804 to learn how we can help.
Suzanne Patrick-Lawrence is the CEO of Advisor Business Solutions. She is a business planning and communications specialist with over 20 years of experience developing business and marketing strategies for financial services, global corporations, government agencies, nonprofits, and small businesses. She is passionate about working with financial advisor practices seeking guidance, support, and structure to position their firms for a successful transition. To learn more about Suzanne, connect with her on LinkedIn.