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A diverse and inclusive workforce can drive Fintech forward

September 18, 2019

Breaking the mold 👯

As an industry, Fintech sits at the crossroads of two notoriously non-diverse sectors. Finance has struggled with its perception of being male-dominated, it is also seen as being a difficult space for women and people from various minority groups to progress to senior management positions, which also rings true for IT.

Fintech as a disruptive force within the finance world must apply the same passion and enthusiasm they have shown to changing the way people think about finance to changing the way people think about people that work within finance.

Given the ‘clean slate’ that Fintech has had to work with when it comes to diversity in the workforce, there has been a distinct lack of progress with some of the latest reporting from companies in the industry.

In the UK for example, one of, if not the most rapidly advancing Fintech hubs on earth, there has been a lot of emphasis on improving female representation both as an overall percentage of the workforce as well as in leadership positions. According to Deloitte, females make up 30% of the workforce but only 17% of the leadership positions within Fintech.

Figures like these coming out of the epicenter of Fintech suggest there is much more work to be done to attract a wider range of applicants and building pathways for those applicants to become leaders within their organizations. Things like using gender-neutral language on your job postings can make a difference in this respect. At bunq, women make up roughly 50% of our company and 33% of our leadership positions are held by women.

Diversity: a key in the workplace 🔑

According to Forbes, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce in the next 15 years. This huge shift in demographics suggests that businesses should proactively factor in a shift in attitudes to what diversity and inclusion in the workplace actually means.

For Millennials, there is less focus on the traditional definitions of diversity which have been classed by gender, ethnicity and race. This demographic is more likely to view differences in ideas, identities and experiences as the true measure of diversity.

Given this generational gap, it could provide a roadblock for senior management and younger employees to see eye to eye on what success in promoting diversity actually looks like.

As a starting point, it’s important to keep in mind that the Millennial worker wants to see their managers as mentor and not a boss, someone who is invested in their future and is there to coach them.

Within bunq, diversity in the workforce is a key pillar of our vision for the bank of tomorrow. In the more traditional and modern senses of diversity, we boast 19 different nationalities, near parity in terms of male/female employees and a melting pot of different backgrounds and viewpoints, some of which we will be sharing with you in the coming months!

The office environment facilitates inclusion 🏦

It’s easy to focus on people when discussing diversity and inclusion and overlook the working environment, but how you set up your office and the environment within it is a valuable tool in encouraging an inclusive business.

Open common areas provide fertile ground for exchanging ideas and practices to help solve problems. These informal settings can bring together people from vastly different parts of the business who may not collaborate on a regular basis, which is a real source of innovation.

Some other ways to build inclusion within an office environment are communicating openly, taking time to build lasting relationships with colleagues/managers and encouraging authenticity so employees feel empowered to be themselves in the office. Further empowerment can be found when employees feel that their work has a purpose and is valued by those around them.

Company values that are easily communicated, simple to remember and measurable can give employees something to believe in and motivate them to be productive and feel valued along that journey.

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