Diversity, inclusion and equality in FinTech
Our research provides a valuable baseline of where things stand today, and how the industry can strengthen its diversity, inclusion and gender equality going forward. Despite being commonly grouped together, diversity and inclusion should be viewed as independent concepts. Diversity is measured by workforce demographics, including the ages, races and ethnicities of workers. Inclusivity is defined by prevailing standards, cultures and behavioural norms. By understanding both diversity and inclusion, we gain insight into the root causes of gender inequality in FinTech.
Looking beyond gender diversity
To be clear, there are other important forms of diversity, including racial, ethnic, generational and neurodiversity, that the FinTech sector must embrace if it is to reach its full potential, even gender is not binary. For the purposes of this research, our respondents self-identified as women, men or neither. We spent time listening to women and men who work across the industry, at FinTech start-ups and scale-ups, banks, insurers, asset managers, and investment firms, as well as accelerators and other organisations. Our research also addressed all levels of the organisations — from founders and senior executives to mid-level managers to junior workers in the early days of their careers.
Our research highlighted some of the key issues hampering gender diversity and equality. According to the inputs from our survey respondents, focus group and roundtable participants:
- Men are significantly more positive about the industry’s diversity and inclusion performance to date — a perception which may make achieving gender equality more difficult.
- Firms founded and led by females have less access to equity and debt funding than those founded and led by males.
- Female employees are less likely to negotiate salary and bonuses when joining a new organisation — a contributing factor to the gender pay gap — but they are prepared to negotiate their working arrangements (e.g., flexible scheduling).
- Female-founded and female-led FinTechs attract a higher proportion of female workers than male-founded ones — which show the importance of positive role models.
- Senior executives across the industry understand the importance of gender diversity and inclusive cultures — both in terms of finding badly needed talent and enhancing the reputation of the industry.