International Women’s Day is a time to take stock of progress made in the previous year. Also to look forward to the new boundaries we can push in the year ahead. For those wanting to tackle the issue in their own firm, gender diversity can be a daunting subject.
ON THE NAUGHTY STEP?
Gender diversity is a hot topic for the Fintech industry, especially as it bridges the worlds of Finance and Technology, both historically male-dominated industries. Fintech is not a natural leader when it comes to tackling diversity issues. Gender diversity has lagged compared to other fast-growing sectors and the spotlight is on the sector to improve. Accessible and simple measures can easily be implemented.
FOLLOW THE GUIDE
At HUBX, we proudly ensure women are at the heart of our Fintech business. We wanted to share the most effective measure to promote gender diversity.
1. Revamp your hiring process:
This is where it all begins. When hiring with diversity in mind, a diverse culture naturally follows. However, hiring constraints are challenging for early-stage companies with a handful of employees.
Here are our practical tips on opening up the process:
- Keep applications open for longer. Make sure you hear from everyone eligible for the job. All this requires is some pre-planning;
- Request ‘nameless’ CVs to remove the possibility of subconscious bias;
- Ensure your interviewers themselves are diverse. Women are more likely to join if they interact with female employees;
- Showcase your company’s brand in a diverse professional network in order to attract candidates, such as 100 Women in Finance.
2. Consider flexible working hours:
Historically, flexible and part time work has been an obstacle to career development and promotion. However, adopting flexible working practices in a productive manner boosts gender equality at work.
Thanks to technology, flexible working hours are a reality. With the plethora of conference calling tools, messaging channels and document sharing platforms, employees are just as connected remotely as they would be in the office. And possibly even more productive, though possibly not on the same schedule!
3. Commit to a Charter:
Defining and writing down your company’s commitment to diversity is an important step to achieving those goals. Companies signing up to a charter take a public responsibility for that commitment. All employees and stakeholders can hold the company accountable.
Setting specific targets is key. In this way, everyone in the company has a clear notion of what they need to achieve within a certain time. This ensures initiatives actually get actioned.
At HUBX, we have committed following targets, as part of the Women in Finance Charter.For example delivering 50% gender split across all divisions and levels over the next 5 years (by 2023). We report on our progress every year, to ensure it is kept front of our minds.
4. Embrace female networks:
Early-stage companies have so much to gain by being part of a female network. Offer to pay for your female employees’ membership fee.
Events promoting women in Fintech or Finance help find a personal style and route to success. As part of 100 Women in Finance, we have been fortunate to access inspiring women who carved their own path. For example, how Veronique Courlier became CEO of her own Advisory firm, after an incredible career ranging from derivatives trading to hedge funds and family offices.
Innovate Finance are another example of a network offering valuable workshops, content and events, where women can find mentorship and inspiration. Our team cheered when our own Maya Aweida was named for the second year in a row as a Rising Star on the Women in FinTech Powerlist.
Our team also values our extra-curricular activities, bonding as a group, beyond the gender divide. From our renowned Christmas Bauble Design Competition, geeky Data Science Hackathons, to high-octane climbing and go-karting, a little competition and a lot of laughter also do wonders for gender relations.
In short, a little goes a long way. These measures dont all have to be implemented at once. Baby steps in the right direction will already send out a strong message, internally and externally, that change is on the way.