Women in Financial Services Edge Up, Still Below Pre-Pandemic Levels

Women in finance and insurance now at 42.7% of employees, whilst financial services sector employment hits all time high

Data released today by the Office for National Statistics detailing gender balance amongst employees (see link here) shows that in Q2 of 2023, women made up 42.7% of staff in the Financial & Insurance Activities sector, down by 1.6% compared to Q2 in 2022, but up 0.4% since Q1 2023 which saw the lowest level since the nadir of the pandemic (41.5% in Q1 2021).

By contrast, when records began in Q1 1997, women made up 53.5% of the sector, 10.8% more than today. Women as a percentage of employees in financial services have been falling steadily over recent years (see chart below), most likely due to the decline in traditional administrative jobs and growth of IT use in the sector.

To provide wider context, women in Q2 of 2023 accounted for 47.5% of employees across all sectors, 2.1% above 1997 levels and roughly in line with averages over recent years.

Overall employment in the Financial & Insurance Activities sector in Q2 of 2023 stood at 1.53 million, up 5.7% on Q1 2023. This is the highest number of employees in the sector and the highest share of all UK jobs since these records began.

Nikola Southern, Employment Partner specialising in financial services at law firm Kingsley Napley LLP, comments: 

“Today’s financial services gender balance figures are surprisingly positive for an industry which still suffers reputationally as far as employment of women is concerned. If improvements are to be made, financial institutions should pay heed to wider societal trends and ask why they are still outliers in 2023. In particular, they should be looking to ensure their culture is not a deterrence for female employees, that discrimination in all its guises is eliminated and that modern family and menopause policies are adopted to support their female staff.”

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