TelcoNews UK - Telecommunications news for ICT decision-makers
Story image
IWD 2024: From top to bottom rung: The secret to success is inclusion & diversity
Fri, 8th Mar 2024

Each year, in March, companies across LinkedIn flood our feeds to demonstrate how they’re leading the charge in diverse practices in the lead-up to International Women’s Day.

Even so, despite the onslaught of content, strong female representation in industries such as the financial, tech and fintech industries is few and far between. It’s alarming, as the World Economic Forum reports that women make up 42% of the workforce. Despite these figures, issues like the gender pay gap, gender parity and barriers to entry to the workforce still exist.  So, what can be done to address these issues in the fintech industry? 

The wage of it all 

Fintech is renowned as an industry that is continuously innovating, pushing the boundaries of how we manage payments, data, transactions and all the nuts and bolts of the financial plumbing in between. Unsurprisingly, however, many areas of fintech remain miles behind other sectors by ways of diversity.

This sentiment is echoed by a report in 2023 from the financial powerhouse EY, which found that only 10% of females in fintech held board roles. The figures speak to the wider issue of the gender pay gap and are backed by Futura: Solaris’s network for women in fintech. Their report highlights the significant gender gap in fintech, with only 28% of the workforce being women and just 17% in senior roles. These are just some of the issues affecting the fintech sector, so what can we all do to improve? 

Inclusion = innovation

One of the biggest achievements would be having diverse representation across every level of a company. Doing so is crucial to cultivating an innovative, productive, and creative workforce. It may seem obvious, but it is the secret to championing success and a sure way to retain talent. Throughout my career as Director of People and Culture at Gresham Tech, we have enjoyed good retention rates, with a number of our people enjoying long careers with us as a result of our policies. 

The obvious benefits of this are the retained talent and knowledge base, but it also adds to an inclusive culture focused on the value of different perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences. It builds relationships that cultivate an environment where talent is valued and encouraged to flourish.

Gresham Tech, a publicly listed company with operations in the UK, APAC, EU, and the US, draws on the power of our international employee base. We believe the secret to our success is the variety of our workforce's backgrounds, experiences, expertise, and ways of thinking. More companies should, in my view, seek to be representative of the communities that they operate in. We strive for every one of our employees to feel respected and valued for who they are.

New ways of working 

Naturally, it can be overwhelming for large multinational companies to overhaul their policies to align with modern standards. There are ways to combat this, the most obvious being to hire from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Not only does this expose your employees to different cultures, but to different perspectives. This way, no ideal becomes stale. Fintech as an industry, thrives on innovation, and its internal culture and processes should reflect that.

If you’re unsure of where to start, there are international standards that companies can hold themselves accountable to, including the UN’s sustainable development goals (SGDs). Number five includes gender diversity, but they also include goals that balance social, economic and environmental sustainability.

In essence, for fintech to maintain its reputation as an innovative industry, it must address its diversity problem. While overhauling an entire company’s (let alone the industry's) internal process is a mean feat, each journey begins with a single step, in this case, a new hire.