Make the fintech industry more inclusive
The representation of women in the fintech industry has always been unfair. And although some positive steps have been taken in recent years to bridge the gender gap, there is still a way to go.
In the UK, women make up only 30% of the workforce in the sector, and only 12% of fintech entrepreneurs and co-founders are women. In order to drive the change that we all want to see, it is important that we examine the factors that prevent more women from entering the industry, as well as the solutions fintechs can implement to increase inclusion.
The barriers to women entering the industry
There is a need to educate people about the different paths to technology. It is a misconception that you need a code background to enter the industry, which is not true at all. The people I work with come from different disciplines. Therefore, there is more we can do to show people the range of roles available in the industry. And for those who want to learn to code, there are so many online platforms that are not expensive (some are free) that will allow them to develop this skill set from the comfort of their own home. We are pleased to see that some universities are adding fintech tracks to the curriculum.
Lack of work flexibility can also be a deterrent for women who either enter the industry or climb to senior positions. When putting together work policies, it is important that companies consider the balance between work and private life that people now demand – such as teleworking days and flexible working hours. This will contribute to a more inclusive workplace.
What the industry can do to become more inclusive
The key to attracting more women into the industry is to create a healthy work environment that people regardless of gender want to be a part of and stay in. Having a top management team with more women makes women in all positions more open to your organization. When the culture is right, it makes it easier to just focus on hiring the right talent.
One of the first things people do when looking for a job or preparing for an interview is to go on platforms like LinkedIn, to understand who the key stakeholders are. Therefore, when they see diversity throughout the company, especially at the top, they will feel more welcome. It’s one of those things, if you can see it, then you can be.
At BlueSnap, for example, we have created a culture where women feel welcome and can rise to very leading positions. We are fortunate that our top management team is very diverse with talented women in leading positions.
How to thrive in the industry
There are a few important considerations for women entering this industry.
First, since the industry is always innovative, I would recommend keeping up to date on what is happening globally and not just locally. For example, if you are based in the United States, where payments are quite card-centric, it is important that you take a closer look at developments in other countries. And learn about the new payment trends. Understanding the big picture will put you in a better position to move on. The more you know, the more positioned you are to help.
In addition, payments are a detailed oriented business. You have to get into the weeds of things. So learn about the small frames that help to tell the big picture, and understand the importance of keeping things simple. Throughout my career, I have always had an eye for what’s next in finance, banking and payments. I am curious by nature, so thinking about where the industry is going has always helped me navigate my career and be a part of the continuous development of the sector.
The future of the industry is incredibly exciting and women will play an integral role in its success. Therefore, we must take the necessary steps now to attract and keep women fulfilled in the fintech sector.