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Illustrations of International Women's Day and four women

There’s no denying, fintech has a gender problem. On more than just one front. First up, there’s the lack of women representation in tech in general. Then there’s the lack of representation in leadership fintech roles: Did you know just 17% of senior positions are held by women?

This relatively new sector inherited some old-fashioned traits from the traditional finance industry, especially its typically male-dominated workforce. But The Times They Are A-Changin'. 

The conversation around gender diversity in fintech is a prominent one. The ‘boys club’ that is finance is slowly changing as we see more and more companies realise the importance of having a diverse workforce. But, there’s work to be done

We asked 130+ Pleo’ers, of all genders, about all things gender diversity in fintech and what the future of fintech could, and should, look like… 

This report is based on the results of a recent survey to Pleo’ers conducted by Pleo with a total of 132 respondents (23% of the total company), spread all around the world. In total, 63% of respondents identify themselves as female, and the remaining 37% identify as male. 

What three words did the male respondents use to describe what it’s like being a man in fintech?

Out of the 18 possible options to choose from, the top three most popular answers from men were: positively challenging (58%), exciting (50%) and high pressure (40%). 

So, how does this compare to the top three options chosen by women? Note: All respondents were given the same set of choices with the option to add their own adjectives in there too. 

What three words did the female respondents use to describe what it’s like being a woman in fintech?

Out of all the options, the three most popular responses for women were: exciting (53%), positively challenging (48%) and empowering (34%).

But there were a few stark differences found between the male and female respondents. While 0% of men described working in fintech as ‘lonely’, 10% of women did. Also, 14% of male respondents said working in fintech is ‘intimidating’, while 28% of women did. 

64% agree that there are barriers to growth and success for women in fintech

The barriers blocking women’s workplace gains in fintech can range all the way from unconscious bias to not having female representation in leadership. You know how it goes: you can’t be what you can’t see. 

Having women role models can make all the difference, be that female founders, board members or executives. The list goes on. 

Alongside representation, mentors and coaching can help accelerate women in fintech. But ultimately, it’s all about fair promotions, visibility and funding. 

In an ideal world, what should the future of fintech look like?

The future of fintech is evolving as we speak, and the pandemic arguably sped certain areas of this up as we saw more companies embrace employee benefits like remote and flexible-working. 

While some leaps have been made to improve the world of work for all, there’s still work to be done. 

64% of respondents agreed that the future of fintech should include equal pay for all genders and more women and people of colour in leadership roles. Also, 45% said there should be an increased focus on mental health and wellness. 

What should fintechs be focusing on to promote gender diversity?

From mentoring options (13%) to increased learning and development budget (2%), our respondents could choose just one out of the 10 options that all fintechs should be focusing on to encourage a more diverse workforce. 

But of course, in an ideal world, all of these areas would be prioritised. 

25% voted that equal pay should be the main focus for fintechs, while 21% said hiring more diversely. 

95% are feeling positive about the future of fintech

Now, this is a pretty reassuring stat. 

We caught up with Aiyana Moorhead, Market Expansion Domain and Ida Støier, Director, Sales and Partnerships to give some actionable advice for anyone out there looking to kickstart their career in fintech.

“It’s easy for me now to sit here, having an amazing time in an amazing company to say ‘Just do it!’. But fintech is an industry where you can have a huge impact as a woman, there’s a lot of room for growth because it’s traditionally men who pursue a career in finance,” Ida says.

“My advice for women considering a career in fintech is to absolutely go for it! All those doubts, all those insecurities holding you back, they are absolutely not real and you should just go for it. It’s as simple as that,” Aiyana added.

We’re confident that the future of fintech starts with more women. More women in leadership roles. More women-founded fintech companies. More women on the board.

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