According to a CNBC article from July 2018, women account for only about 17% of leaders in investment banking and only about 18% of employees overall. The reason? A survey of 1,000 men and women indicated that women see bias men don’t in the industry, leading them to find employment elsewhere. Even so, if you have dreams of being a woman in finance, you can make them a reality when you keep these tips in mind for navigating potentially troublesome waters.

1. You Need To Build the Right Network

Networking is essential for any person in any industry, but it tends to become even more important when you’re a woman in a male-dominated industry. Consider both your personal and professional lives. In your personal life, consider the other strong women you know, such as your mother, aunts, sisters, or friends. Ask them how they become as successful as they are. They may even have access to networking opportunities for you.

When it comes to your professional life, there are opportunities both in the “real world” and online. Seek out events created specifically for women, especially if they relate closely to the finance industry. From conferences to job fairs, there are a wide variety of options for women in the workforce, especially if you live in or near a larger city. Don’t forget about the internet world, either, though. Seek out other strong women to follow on social media and spend the extra time seeking out women-friendly career websites to help you find the type of job and company you want to work for.

2. Know That You Are a Crucial Part of the Industry

A Swiss bank conducted a study and found that the more female senior managers a company has, the more profitable it is. Companies whose senior managers consist of at least 15% of women make at least 50% more in profits. Women aren’t just important in the finance industry across the pond, either. Check out the facts from the United States.

Nearly 80% of households have women who make the family’s major monetary decisions, and women will have about $22 trillion to invest in 2020. As women seek out more representation in a range of industries, including finance, they are most likely to make those monetary decisions based on companies that are hiring more women.

How does this benefit you? There are two reasons. For one thing, it makes it easier for you to seek out businesses that already hire women (since more of them are). On the other hand, if you have your heart set on a finance company that has yet to see the light, take statistics like this and others directly to the hiring managers. Show them how profitable other women-centric financial institutions are, and they are more likely to follow suit.

3. Look Fear in the Face and Negotiate Your Salary

When you do get the interview of a lifetime, chances are you won’t want to take the first salary you’re offered. In fact, a survey conducted by the BBC indicates that women in the finance industry earn nearly 36% less than men in the same industry. For every $1,000 a man makes in a finance position, you’re likely to only make $640. This means you cannot be afraid to negotiate your salary.

After all, men aren’t. They’re four times more likely to ask for a raise, even if they don’t deserve it. When interviewing for a job (including within the same company), come prepared to show your worth, have a number in mind, and don’t be afraid to show human resources exactly why you’re worth that number.

Research, the willingness to take a few extra steps, and an assertive attitude are a requirement if you want to get ahead in the finance industry, especially if you happen to be a woman. Hopefully, the industry will get with the times and begin to hire an increasing number of women; for now, don’t be afraid to let your voice be heard.

Guest writers and carefully selected for Career Enlightenment. Thanks for reading!

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