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The investment banks women want to work for

As far as investment banks go, J.P. Morgan isn’t short of women in senior positions usually occupied by men.

Marianne Lake, its CFO, has held the position since 2012, Anu Aiyengar was promoted to co-head of M&A for North America in 2015, Liz Myers is global head of equity capital markets and Lori Beer was named chief information officer for its investment bank last year.

Maybe having so many female role models helps its appeal. More women want to work for J.P. Morgan than any other bank. Not only did the bank win our overall ranking in the eFinancialCareers 2017 Ideal Employer ranking, it was also – by some distance – the most popular bank among female respondents to the survey.

For most banks, being seen as a desirable employer for women in the financial sector is a big deal. Financial services organisations go to great lengths to try and attract women into the industry. Ensuring that they make it into senior roles is a much bigger challenge.

Recent data gathered by the FT suggests that J.P. Morgan does indeed beat its peers when it comes to attracting female employees. Over 65% its employees in junior roles were women, there were 45% in mid-ranking roles and 25.8% in senior positions. As depressing as the latter figure is, it still ahead of other banks and not a single financial institution in the survey had reached gender parity in the senior ranks.

So, what do women want? The simple answer is pretty much the same as male bankers. The most important element to women voting for J.P. Morgan in the survey was pay – 87% said that a competitive salary was important to them (compared to 86% of men).

The difference, however, is in expectations – 76% of men said they’d anticipate a big salary at J.P. Morgan, compared to 72% of women. Similarly, just 61% of women said they’d expect a big bonus working at the bank, compared to 70% of male respondents, despite similar levels of importance.

The gender pay gap still exists, of course. A recent PwC report suggested that woman were underpaid by 34% compared to men working in the financial sector. Ahead of a new law in the UK that requires companies to calculate the differences between pay rates for male and female employees, asset manager Schroders revealed that its gap was 31%.

Women voting for investment banks are also chasing opportunities to move up the ladder. 84% women who chose J.P. Morgan said that opportunities for promotion were important to them in an employer, but just 54% expected it from working at the bank.

More women, predictably, would like to see flexible working options than men, but not substantially so. 45% of women who voted for J.P. Morgan said they’d like a degree of flexibility in their job, but just 26% expected it. 34% of male respondents said that it was a benefit they looked for in an employer.

Investment banks, or at least those with a larger capital markets functions, still less likely to have women in senior roles than retail-focused banks, according to a recent Women in Finance survey by MSCI.

Most women who fall out of investment banks tend to do so in the mid-ranks when they seek more flexibility after having children. The logic is simple – clients demand their investment bankers are on call 24/7. Working from home or three days a week isn’t conducive to this.

However, the vast majority of investment banks tout their high maternity leave return rates. The reality, suggest female bankers we spoke to, is different from the glossy vision investment banks would like to portray.

“The main issue remains face time,” says one ED working in investment banking in the City. “Banks want women in the office the whole time. Bums on seats are important, even if you could easily work remotely. This lack of flexibility forces many women to quit voluntarily.”

View the complete 2017 Ideal Employer Rankings


Photo: Getty Images

AUTHORPaul Clarke

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