I think 2018 is a low-risk time for a woman to work in the high-reward financial industry. Here are the top three reasons why I believe this:


#1 The opportunity to quickly move up in the world

In 2018, most firms are scrambling to figure out how to sell more effectively to female customers. Why? Because more women = more money.

Women already influence 83% of all purchasing decisions in the US and will control 2/3 of all wealth within the next decade. There is a huge opportunity for women in finance careers to excel by helping solve the issue of how to better serve the #1 target customer – the financially confident woman.

If companies want to attract more female clients, they need to help women align their investments with their values — this is a language women understand. They want their investments to match their personal values and women prefer to be engaged emotionally in the investment decision.

A gender diverse team will better mirror a gender-diverse customer base and understand what motivates each and every customer. Women are incredibly loyal customers and they love to share, so they are likely to bring along assets from their parents, their siblings, and everyone they have ever met.

Women of all ages can play key roles in companies in designing the service models of the future.


#2 The opportunity to earn a high income

Finance can be a bit of a boys’ club. And if you can talk finance, it gets you in all kinds of doors that would otherwise be closed.

Financial firms know that diversity enhances a firm’s ability to ask better questions and the diverse approach has been shown to produce both better results AND at lower risk. Every portfolio manager team is “seeking alpha” and one path to better alpha is to move away from traditional alpha-male dominance.

Women with strong financial skills are now in demand and they will command more and more of a premium.

Women are vastly under-represented in the financial industry. Most international surveys show female representation in senior finance roles to be somewhere between 15 and 25%. As this gap narrows, it will work in favour of women who want to earn a lot of money.


#3 The opportunity to work flexible hours

The most often-cited reasons for the lack of female talent in finance are the long hours and the difficulty in balancing work and family life.

Particularly on the sales side, I have found that the investment business is one of the most flexible in terms of time at the office. It is all about pay for performance. Produce results and no one will care how you made it happen or where you were for that matter.

Working at a ‘pay for performance’ type of job is similar to working for yourself. Design your day and be as creative as you like in terms of how you deal with your business. Managing your own book of clients comes with a lot of responsibility but it also comes with a great feeling of independence.


Another big reason why finance is the “new black” for women?

Learning more about finance can play a major role in a woman’s life successes and feeling of confidence. Acquiring financial knowledge allows you to: get practical skills; be better at any job; use finance as a tool for good; and become financially independent.

Are you looking for a fabulous graduation gift for your daughter? Enroll her in a finance program! My preference is the CFA designation, but there are others too.


In my next post, I’ll share my research findings as to what future finance jobs will look like.

Barbara Stewart, CFA is one of the world’s leading researchers on women and finance, focusing on real life financial behaviours and providing global insights into how smart women think and communicate. Barbara is an advocate for women, for diversity, and for financial education. In addition to her Rich Thinking® research, Barbara uses her proprietary research skills to work as an Executive Interviewer on a project basis for global financial institutions seeking to gain a deeper understanding of their key stakeholders, both women and men. Barbara is a frequent interview guest on TV, radio and print, both financial and general interest. She is a contributor to the CFA Institute’s Enterprising Investor website. For more information about Barbara’s research, please see www.barbarastewart.ca.