Scots finance ‘needs international women’

Betsy Williamson, Core-Asset Consulting’s managing director

Scotland’s financial services industry needs to actively recruit more women from international markets to improve its gender diversity, according to a prominent recruitment firm.

In its 2016 salary guide for Scotland’s financial sector, Core-Asset Consulting said many financial sector firms in Scotland had attempted to increase their proportion of female employees — but with limited success.

“With the pace of change frustratingly slow, several financial organisations based in Scotland have been introducing initiatives into the recruitment process in an attempt to better level the playing field,” said Betsy Williamson, Core-Asset Consulting’s managing director.

“… perhaps the most important challenge for the (Scottish) financial sector, and the recruitment partners which support it, will be more societal than economic — namely a commitment to increasing gender diversity.”

Scotland’s financial services industry employs almost 100,000 people directly and another 100,000 indirectly and generates around £7 billion for the Scottish economy, according to trade body Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE).

SFE said the sector manages over £800 billion of funds, accounts for 24% of all UK employment in life assurance and about 13% of all UK banking employment.

But Williamson said in her report that Scottish financial sector employers have to develop a more international outlook when it comes to recruitment if they are serious about improving gender diversity.

“This will not only provide companies with the requisite skills and experience to be successful on the global stage, it will also help balance the ratio of male to female workers by looking at larger and more internationally-based applicant pools,” said Williamson.

The Core-Asset Consulting managing director continued: “Put simply, if I, as a recruiter, have only two people in Scotland who are a fit for a particular role and both happen to be men, the only way to meet a client’s laudable gender diversity goals is to look outside of Scotland.

“This is especially the case if that role is at a senior or executive level.

“Scotland’s small and relatively static population of five million inhabitants has meant for some time that the financial sector is supported by a limited pool of suitable candidates.

“An intensified campaign on the part of organisations – employers, recruiters, universities, government and local authorities – to attract talent to Scotland has to be a priority, as it forms part of the solution to increasing gender diversity within our industry.”

About the Author

Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.