How to know if that financial services company is female friendly

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This may be the 21st Century but some investment banks and hedge funds are still not favorably disposed toward female employees, while others offer perks that make it easy for women to successfully balance their careers with family life. A few even offer coaching and support that make it easier for women to advance.

If you’re checking out a financial company for employment, here are some clues to look for to determine if it’s women friendly.

Diversity

How many women are in senior management or serve on the company’s board?

“If there are not any, that should be a red flag,” says Lynne Sarikas, director of career services for Northeastern University’s MBA program.

Recognition and reputation

“Is the company on Working Mother's top company list or other industry lists for family friendly policies?” asks Sarikas. “Companies that support family friendly issues tend to be women friendly companies.”

Sarikas says jobseekers also check out the bank's reputation for helping all employees succeed.

“In general companies that make it to the best places to work lists have policies that support and encourage all employees to be successful,” she says.

Flexibility

Studies show that company amenities like job-sharing, onsite daycare, and telecommuting are great for employee morale and make companies attractive to women.

“As a company we (allow) mothers to bring their young children to work with them, work around most schedules with the focus of family first, and allow telecommuting during different times in our employees’ careers depending on their lifestyle,” says Nicki Maynard, owner and CEO of Planet Wise Inc., a New Glarus, Wisc.-based company that the sells and distributes environmentally friendly household items.

Is it a sweatshop?

Sarikas encourages female job seekers to investigate whether the company offers career paths that “lead to success without having to work 80 hours a week or travel extensively?”

Look for obvious clues

Are any of the interviewers women? Do they ask any questions that are either inappropriate on border on the illegal, such as whether you plan to have children or family responsibilities.

“Observe interaction between employees…to see if there is an atmosphere of mutual respect,” says Sarikas.

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