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International Women's Day 2020: An Interview with Anna Yegorova

Posted on March 2020

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What role can recruitment play in creating a gender-balanced workforce throughout the financial services industry? Anna Yegorova, Vice President at 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?

57% of all professional US occupations as of 2017, were held by women. However, this statistic is much lower when you look at the Financial Technology sector. For example, only 36% of Facebook’s global staff is composed of women as of 2018. With figures like these, it is our mission to close the gender gap within Financial Technology, so we can have a more enabled world. There is a growing number of tech jobs, and it is essential that we increase the number of females candidates. Unfortunately, STEM careers are not the first career choice among women. As of 2016 only 18% of all Computer Science Bachelor’s at major universities were women. Our research shows that in terms of women in STEM, females focus on careers and technical skill sets toward science and biostatistics. This makes it difficult for females to find role models in traditional IT sectors, and IT professionals who they can look up to for guidance and career advice, especially at financial institutions.

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

Finding ways to attract top talent, especially diverse talent, is one of the most difficult aspects to talent strategy that most companies face. Every bank in the industry is prioritizing diversity hiring initiatives within technology sectors. We have seen this in committing resources in the form of exclusive internal Diversity & Inclusion recruitment teams, diversity-focused networking events, mentorship programs, or efforts like partnerships with “Girls Who Code” – whose focus is to help educate the next generation of future scientists and engineers. Attracting is not the only issue however, with companies also focusing on retention. The turnover rate of women in technology is almost twice as high of that of men (41% vs 17%). Why is this important? Because Fortune 500 companies have seen that having at least 3 women in leadership positions saw 66% increase in ROI. Personally, I have seen women change their careers into technology. Many women have been inspired to take on coding bootcamps which are 3-month programs to teach students web development. Given this is a space I recruit in, my clients have been increasingly accepting of candidates choosing this career path.

What role can recruiters play in creating an equal world?

As recruiters, we also must help on the mission on closing the gender gap with parity for income at the same jobs and titles. The difficulty here, however, is that there is not a set “market rate” for technologists at any firm – pay here is determined by performance. Specifically, in the FinTech sector, women earn $350 less than men – but good news is that younger women in the industry see a smaller pay gap. In our role, we can shed light on this disparity - we have even hosted events with female keynote speakers promoting such topics. Additionally, we have collaborated with a handful of clients to discuss their mentorship programs and support Diversity & Inclusion initiatives to help close these gaps and encourage female STEM talent to grow in the industry. It is also our job to educate females when trying to find new opportunities in Technology – it is important for anyone to keep up to date with the newest technologies.

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

There is a law called – “The Compensation Equity Law” and it has helped tremendously in establishing a platform for equal pay across similar job functions regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity. Companies’ reputation is something they are responsible for and a trait that candidates investigate before agreeing to join the firm. I would recommend that companies take the Compensation Equity Law from theory to practice, to force companies to pay for experience and skill set (based on a candidate’s realistic expectations) rather than their current compensation and seeking an increase from there. As mentioned above, by creating, investing money and promoting diversity programs throughout a firm by having this positive PR, diverse talent will naturally be attracted to apply.

Anna Yegorova is a Vice President for Selby Jennings. After joining in May of 2016, she was tasked to build out our recruitment services in a new space, focusing on finding the best user experience designers, and web and mobile developers. For advice on building a diverse hiring strategy, get in touch with the Selby Jennings team.

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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.