Most Women Bankers See Barriers - UK Survey

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A survey found nearly two-thirds of women employed in London's financial markets believe their gender makes it harder for them to succeed.

A like proportion termed it a "struggle" to combine a successful career with having a family, according to Financial News, which polled more than 850 women having an average of nearly 10 years of experience. Just 26.6 percent of the overall survey group had children, while only 22 percent of those working in investment banking did. Among the U.K. population as a whole, about 80 percent of women born in 1961 have children.

The figures add a sobering note to the industry's touting of its diversity programs.

Private equity came off as the least female-friendly sector: 75 percent of women working in private equity said they thought gender had impeded their success. The most female-friendly sectors were technology, securities, and asset management. Thirty-nine percent of respondents working in asset management said being a woman didn't affect their career progress.

Interestingly, a majority of those surveyed gave a thumbs-down to mass lawsuit settlements as a tool for fighting sex discrimination. Fifty-five percent said such high-profile cases hindered the progress of women in the workplace, Financial News says. However, the article quotes Jane Welsh, head of the private equity research team at Watson Wyatt, as saying scrutiny resulting from such suits "has, in part, driven a professionalization of their human resources practices."

The story also cites women's networking company Diva-Biz, which contends that women don't get ahead in finance because they value "personal fulfillment" rather than money or status. "Women are naturally more self-deprecating than men and won't ask for pay rises or promotions while their male peers will blow their own trumpets. Women are generally less satisfied at work and more inclined to quit, making them unlikely candidates for promotion," Fiona Price, managing director of Diva-Biz, told Financial News.

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