The European Women Payments Network (EWPN) is shining a spotlight on diversity issues within the financial services industry with the launch of its inaugural ‘End of the Tunnel’ report, sponsored by financial utility, Banking Circle. The EWPN hopes to begin a widespread conversation on all areas of diversity, leading to improvements which will benefit all in the industry.
Stanley Skoglund, a member of the Executive Board of EWPN and leading the EWPN Fintech Research Programme explained: “Diversity has been a hot topic in recent years, but has generally focused on gender issues. We wanted to bring to light other issues, including discrimination based on age, race, sexuality, ethnicity, disability, religion and political beliefs as well as gender. It is our hope that in bringing these issues to the fore, we can raise awareness and begin to make real change for the sake of future generations.”
Over 300 individuals working in all areas of financial services were surveyed to gain a picture of the realities, issues and discrimination they face every day. The results, along with additional market insight, are published in the ‘End of the Tunnel’ report which was launched today at the EWPN’s Annual Conference in Amsterdam.
The report reveals that 59% of those in the industry do not feel enough is being done to promote gender parity and diversity with respect to opportunity and pay. In fact, 38.5% believe they have not had the same opportunities and/or reward as others due to their gender, and 46% have felt the need to falsify, hide or deliberately not disclose at least one element of their identity – age, parental status, disability, religion, for example.
Nearly 1 in 5 (19%) of respondents have, at some point, felt the need to falsify, hide or deliberately not disclose their age. 20% have hidden their political or social beliefs; 12% their religious beliefs and 8% their level of education. Many have also hidden their status as a parent or expectant parent, and some even certain disabilities.
Other key findings
In which of the following areas do you feel there is an imbalance with respect to pay and career opportunities within your current company?
Nearly half (49%) felt there has been a positive change in gender diversity in the time they have worked in the industry; 38% saw a positive change in racial diversity; 34% have seen positive change in diversity of sexual identity; a quarter felt change in attitudes relating to age has been positive. However, whilst 64% felt a more diverse workforce would significantly benefit their company and the industry, over half (53%) said their current employer does not have specific policies and/or initiatives in place to attract and support gender parity and diversity.
“Despite the recent increased focus on diversity, we have yet to see meaningful change occur,” Stanley Skoglund added. “We may all hear about diversity almost every day, and many companies talk the talk, but are they really making cultural and procedural changes which will benefit future generations, and encourage them into financial careers?
“Or, are businesses simply paying lip service to the concept while carrying on exactly as they always have done, employing and promoting only certain types of people?
“We need to come together as an industry to tackle this institutionalised problem, so that we can create a stronger, more diverse, inclusive, creative, innovative and valuable financial services industry.”
The full report, 'The End of The Tunnel. Seeking the light: inclusion, diversity and the end of institutionalised tunnel-vision’ can be downloaded at ewpn.eu.