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Should I reconsider a career in the financial industry because I'm a girl?

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I notice that the majority of people working in finance that I know of are men. Is there a reason for this? Should I reconsider my career goal? #finance #financial-services #investment-management #investing

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Cheryl’s Answer

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Lindsey,
The fact that you are a woman should not deter you from entering any career you are passionate about. Women are breaking barriers every day in the industry and at PIMCO as well. For instance, our company has a Women's Leadership Network and men are invited to join and participate as well. Some of the events have been centered around breaking stereotypes and bias toward women. We also have professional women at all levels of the company from managing directors down to entry level positions. I don't think you should be discouraged by the disproportionate number of men and women in total in the industry as a whole. If you find a great company to work for, where diversity is valued, your gender should not be an issue. Go for it!

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Cheryl’s Answer

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Hi Lindsey,


True, the majority of people working in the financial industry tend to be male and in particular those in high-profile positions. However, that is true for other industries such as math and science.


You asked, “is there a reason for this?” the answer is pretty complex. As a start, I would highly recommend Sheryl Sandberg’s phenomenal book, Lean In. You should be able to find it in your local or school library. If you Google, “I would highly recommend Sheryl Sandberg's book Lean In,” there are plenty of free articles, such as “10 Things Sheryl Sandberg Gets Exactly Right in Lean In.” Sheryl, COO of Facebook, examines women’s progress (or lack thereof) in leadership roles and her personal experiences in the corporate world dominated by men. She writes about being the only female Board member and when asking directions to the women’s restroom, none of the men knew where it was.


Another insightful read is, Nice Girls Don’t get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make that Sabotage their Careers. The good news is there are some amazing women role models out there who have helped paved the way along with lots of articles and books on this subject. Progress is slow but it is great that young women are now being encouraged to pursue technical career paths in math, science, and engineering to gain the skills necessary to enter these male-dominated fields.


Here are some fantastic websites: More Women in Asset Management; Forte Foundation is geared toward launching women into careers in business so you will find a college student tab on the website. As you delve further there are other groups online such as, 100 Women in Hedge Funds.org.


To answer your question should you reconsider your career goal, I would most definitely encourage you to go for it. Never let this lack of diversity that you see stop you from forging ahead. Instead, take it to heart and let it be your driving force. Women can and do succeed in this industry! Fortunately, today there are more women managing money and running their own financial services businesses than there were twenty years ago. Let’s hope we see even more in the next ten to twenty.


As in most industries, you will find that some firms have higher employee diversity ratios than others. Firms with women in top-tier roles tend to better understand the value of that diversity. Change happens one step at a time. You will also find many articles and books written about why women make better money managers that you might find interesting if you Google “top women money managers.”


The only way to experience change is to be part of the change!

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Austin’s Answer

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I think you should go for it! Within a financial services firm, there are many different teams with different ratios of men and women, so even if the firm as a whole has more men, you may be on a team with more women. As a woman on a team of more men, you can provide a different point of view that adds value to your company. I have never found it to be a problem that I am a woman in a more male-dominated industry.


Financial skills early in your career will always be helpful. Having an understanding of accounting and finance will help you throughout your career because you will understand the accounting and corporate finance behind business decisions.

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Crystal’s Answer

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There is no reason for you to reconsider a career in finance. There are so many different avenues to go down in finance including banking, investment, brokerage firms, finance companies, being the CFO for a large company there are just so many opportunities I would not reconsider. I am in the banking industry and we have many women in our company that are in Senior Management roles that have been such an advocate for the rest of us at the Bank. There may be many men in some of the positions that you think are typical financial positions but, there are many women who have been paving the way that have given us all more opportunities. I for one, was not interested in banking when I began my career I fell into it so to say and now 25 years later I have grown into a position that I love and have the support and respect of many men within our company for the value that I have added in helping to create tools for Construction Management. Just always put your best foot forward, do the best job that you can and you will be valued for your contributions.
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Lisa’s Answer

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Nooo, do NOT reconsider Finance! A lot of women are VERY successful in Finance and Accounting! I work at ESPN and our CFO is a woman and my boss in a woman! Great career for women. Go for it!

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Jennifer’s Answer

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Absolutely not!! If you want a career in finance, you go for it!! Will there be challenges, yes, but there is no job a woman can't do. Please do not let your gender hinder your career goals and aspirations. Strive with no regrets!!

Besides some of the world's biggest companies are ran by woman!!

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Nadia’s Answer

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If your passion is finance, then go for it. It does not require muscle strength but a sharp focused mind. There are numerous women with successful careers in finance. My general advice is that do not hesitate to make any career decision based on your gender. Best of Luck!
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Crystal’s Answer

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There is no reason for you to reconsider a career in finance. There are so many different avenues to go down in finance including banking, investment, brokerage firms, finance companies, being the CFO for a large company there are just so many opportunities I would not reconsider. I am in the banking industry and we have many women in our company that are in Senior Management roles that have been such an advocate for the rest of us at the Bank. There may be many men in some of the positions that you think are typical financial positions but, there are many women who have been paving the way that have given us all more opportunities. I for one, was not interested in banking when I began my career I fell into it so to say and now 25 years later I have grown into a position that I love and have the support and respect of many men within our company for the value that I have added in helping to create tools for Construction Management. Just always put your best foot forward, do the best job that you can and you will be valued for your contributions.
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Danish’s Answer

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hi there,


here are a few financial careers you could go for irrespective of your gender


Asset Manager
Joy says asset management is a great career track for women, especially when they work with boutique, independent companies like she does, where there are fewer gender barriers than in traditional wirehouses. What’s more, while the asset management field is still male dominated, Joy says, “You can stand out as a woman, and if you can prove yourself, there are great opportunities for advancement.”


Investment Advisor Representative
For women seeking a career in the financial services industry, Zing recommends focusing not only on what skills they have, but also what kind of environment they want to be in. “Every firm within the industry has its own style; its own perception of integrity, client service and expertise,” she says. Women should consider what kind of work-life balance they need, then look for the type of position and the company that can meet those needs.


Zing sees advantages to being a woman in her field, particularly in the area of communicating with clients. She says a woman’s sensitivity and empathy can be more comfortable for many clients. The same traits that some see as an advantage, others might see as a disadvantage, however. Zing says some clients might see a woman advisor as possibly unreliable if they believe they rank below a woman’s other priorities, such as her home, spouse or partner and children. “They believe we are trying to manage a business and manage a household all at the same time. And while many of us do,” she says, "clients sometimes measure a woman’s success at balancing both aspects of her life without her opinion or feedback."


Money Manager and Investment Advisor
here are many things she likes about her job that other women may find similarly appealing: “My practice focuses on women and that means I'm involved in networking, community and charitable activities with other women,” Itkin says. And in addition to the satisfaction she says she gets from helping women learn how to generate monthly income by writing covered calls and from inspiring women to take control of their financial futures, Itkin enjoys having a job where no one tells her she needs to sit at a desk from nine to five. “Many women would love having a job where they spend time socializing with other women and have flexibility to work out, pick up the kids and prepare dinner,” she says.


The downside is that “lots of women feel uncomfortable working a room, so building a client base might be difficult for them,” says Itkin. But, she says, “I feel very comfortable entering a room full of people I don't know and making new connections.”


Financial Planner
Female financial planners can face challenges in their work, however. Exhibiting softer traits can make women be considered “too soft,” Harris says. What’s more, “I feel being in a male-dominated environment can be intimidating. You have to have a thick skin and handle rejection well,” Harris says. “When you feel you are right, stick to your guns, especially when you have the research behind you.”


The challenges can pay off. “I feel being a financial planner is rewarding in ways greater than just money. It has allowed me the flexibility to be available for my daughter and family. Also, I get to help people that need me,” Harris says. “Lastly, I get to establish my own terms for my business and its direction. I am not saying it is not hard work, because it is. But there is satisfaction knowing you are in the right place doing what you enjoy.”

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Clint’s Answer

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Yes you should. So many large financial companies value diversity and it is badly needed in many offices. Push forward! If your goal is to work in financial services, go for it!
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Rose’s Answer

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Some areas of Finance are male-dominated. Others tend to be female-dominated or roughly equal. Let your own strengths and interests determine your career path.

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