The financial services industry is committing a costly error, according to research from the New York-based Center for Talent Innovation, or CTI. That error is not working hard enough to build a diverse workforce, particularly one in which women are well represented.
This can be a sticky topic. What does “well represented” mean? According to CTI, the lender’s workforce should be an inherently diverse one that “matches the market.” The other key factor is that the lender must have “leaders who appreciate the advantages conferred by a diverse workforce, actively endorse the ideas their diverse teams propose, and promote a cadre of managers who also embody inclusive behaviors.”
CTI says the financial services industry as a whole suffers from a lack of diversity and risks missing out on potentially trillions of dollars as a result. “In the United States alone,” according to the Harvard Business Review, “women exercise decision-making power over $11.2 trillion, a whopping 39% of the nation’s investable assets.”
Financial services, CTI says, is a relationship business, and the industry risks getting the relationship with women, and a diverse customer base generally, wrong. CTI prescribes three changes to help companies move things in a positive direction from where we are today.
- Build an inclusive culture. Leaders must embrace diversity and allow employees’ ideas to be heard.
- Give diverse talent the visibility, support, and leadership development they need to succeed.
- Create a differentiated client experience. Forging a deeper understanding of the nuances of the marketplace will help improve decisions and the client experience.
The cost of failing to match your company to the market can mean missed opportunities and money left on the table, CTI warns.