Back to blogs

International Women's Day 2020: An Interview with Allison Idarraga

Posted on March 2020

Blog Img
What role can recruitment play in creating a gender-balanced workforce throughout the financial services industry?  Allison Idarraga, SVP - Client Relations and Business Development for Selby Jennings, shares her thoughts for International Women's Day 2020.

The 2020 International Women’s Day theme is that an equal world is an enabled world. What does that mean to you in the financial services?

Most of my clients work in financial services, and equality in this industry continues to be a widely debated topic. For me, equality means that everyone is treated in the same manner regardless of age, gender, disability, nationality, religion or sexual orientation. This has proven to be difficult in Finance which is male dominated, with very little minority representation.

What sort of conversations around gender equality do you have with clients and candidates in your sector?

It comes up many times on the client side, as clients in finance recognize that there is a problem with diversity and have come to realize that having a more diverse workforce can have a positive impact on the bottom line and the overall company performance and culture. Companies are usually very interested in seeing diverse profiles, interested in diversity events, and interested in knowing what competitors are doing to combat this challenge. Many clients are taking extra steps to ultimately ensure they are keeping a special eye for strong diverse talent and carefully managing interview processes. In the end they understand the supply for this talent is low, but demand is high.

What role can recruiters play in creating an equal world?

The equal pay act has been incredibly effective in combating the gender pay gap and as recruiters, we now have the ability to advise our clients (and candidates) on what a candidate is worth based on work history and not what they have historically made. This is imperative when it comes to promoting equality and have transformed lives because of this. We also have a great opportunity to advise our clients that are invested in diversity on what we are seeing in the market to help promote diversity, and in many instances have helped diversify their workforce by providing strong diverse talent.

What advice would you give to a company trying to create a diverse hiring strategy?

Identify brand ambassadors that can help the business promote and form discussions around the topic. Partner with universities, particularly to also invite senior leaders to speak and help promote diversity at campus level. Introduce mentoring schemes to help retain talent. Educate hiring managers on diversification and unconscious bias which creates a halo effect. For example, managers that only want candidates with very specific backgrounds similar to themselves just exemplify the problem. Providing more flexibility has helped retain female talent exponentially in finance.

In her role as SVP Client Services and Business Development for the Americas, Allison is accountable for key account management, business development and overall client experience for 3 of the Phaidon International brands, with a focus on the Financial Services sector. Her and her team manage instrumental partnerships with large Banks and Hedge Funds in the U.S. For advice on building a diverse hiring strategy, get in touch with the Selby Jennings team.


Submit a Vacancy

About us

Selby Jennings is a leading specialist recruitment agency for banking and financial services. For more than 15 years, we have given clients and candidates peace of mind that the recruitment process is in expert hands. Our continual investment in best-in-class technologies and consultant training enables us to recruit with speed, precision and accuracy. Today, Selby Jennings provides permanent, contract and multi-hire recruitment from our global hubs all over the world.