The financial services industry has increased the representation of women among its employees over the past two decades, only to experience a substantial outflow of female employees with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rise in care and household responsibilities has led nearly a third of women to temporarily or permanently leave financial services, rendering the advances of previous decades moot.
Claudia Goldin, professor of economics at Harvard University, accurately describes the discouraging phenomenon by saying:[Gender] the inequalities that existed before the pandemic are now on steroids. According to a recent MetLife study, nearly 50% of women surveyed said the pandemic had a negative impact on their career path. To successfully continue in their current jobs or return to the workforce, women seek greater flexibility and opportunities for career advancement as well as skill development and supportive work cultures.
A recent study conducted by the American College Center for Women in Financial Services on behalf of the American College Center for Economic Empowerment and Equality at the American College of Financial Services found that 55% of financial advisors surveyed did not of a mentor. Among those surveyed, more women than men sought mentorship outside of their current employer and outside of the industry. This is especially important for industry leaders, especially those who want to retain a diverse workforce.
Formal and informal mentoring can help improve skills, create supportive work environments and opportunities for career advancement. Industry leaders can help address the challenges faced by working women or those considering a career change through targeted initiatives to help retain and advance women within the industry .
Mentors provide a powerful combination of attributes. The best mentor is a catalyst for professional development, a pathway to industry contacts, an emotional support system, a career trajectory inspiration, a role model, and an outspoken career cheerleader. a mentee. Mentors can have a profound and positive impact on a mentee’s confidence, advancement, and success. Mentoring can sometimes be intensive, arduous and rewarding, with successes and disappointments. For women, mentoring is critical to career advancement, getting promotions, salary increases and job satisfaction and is especially important in male-dominated professions. Industry leaders can seize the opportunity to establish mentorship initiatives, especially at a time when so many women are leaving the financial services industry temporarily or permanently.
Mentoring is mutually beneficial for companies and employees. Companies with formal mentoring programs have higher retention and engagement rates. Employees who participate in formal mentoring programs are more likely to experience higher compensation, increased promotions, and greater job satisfaction. Given the empirical support for mentoring, it’s surprising that less than half of people in the financial services industry have a mentor.
Here are some mentoring best practices to help you keep this important commitment:
• Establish a personal connection and a relationship of trust with a mentee. It’s an impactful relationship; treat it as such – break away from formal roles and titles to establish common ground and equality.
• Make sure you are available. Before committing to the relationship, assess how much time and attention you need to devote to a mentee.
• Allow relationships to grow organically. Not all mentor/mentee relationships are suitable, even if they started with a promise.
• Contribute to the development of character and professional skills. Quality mentors go beyond ensuring a mentee has the skills required for a job and spend time helping them develop self-awareness, confidence, empathy and other key characteristics. future leaders.
• Show your support and praise success. Mentors should bring energy to the relationship to support their mentee’s professional endeavors. This doesn’t stop mentors from responding to concerns or providing valuable feedback, but good mentors prefer critical thinking support.
• Be open to sharing your professional network. This can be useful to the mentee once you feel they can benefit from other professional contacts.
• Encourage a mentoring team. Each team mentor may play a different role in a mentee’s career path.
• Know your limits.
• Keep confidential customer information private.
Mentoring is a proven retention tool and a path to advancement for women. Quality and successful mentoring can serve as a method to help women develop a sense of inclusion, develop skills, and be promoted. This is particularly timely for the financial services sector, with the increasing resignation of women, the consideration of career changes and the desire and need for flexibility.