Long reads

Bridging the gender gap - is UK fintech finally catching up?

Amanda Kavanagh

Amanda Kavanagh

Contributor, Jobbio

Fintech has the potential to widen fair and equitable access to financial services, but as recent reports show, there’s still a long way to go to bridge the gender gap. Inside fintech organisations things are changing, but barriers still exist.

A June 2022 report from EY shows that 76% of women working in the sector believe their firm is inclusive and 56% say it is diverse. In the context of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I), 94% of junior and mid-level female Fintech employees say they are able to express their views and suggestions at work, 89% say they are motivated to do their job, and 78% say they are able to be authentic at work.

Eight in ten women say they feel valued for their work, and 86% of start-up employees say they are treated with respect by their team, compared with 97% in a scale-up.

However, it’s not all positive. Among junior to mid-level employees, 63% of female respondents say their gender impacted how they are perceived professionally, compared to 27% of men. And 80% of women say their ideas are acted upon, compared to 94% of men.

When it comes to remuneration, 42% of men said they negotiated on compensation, compared to 32% of women. Some 69% of men received all or almost all of what they asked for, compared to 51% of women.

Of the female Fintech founders surveyed, 45% feel able to to raise equity capital, compared to 62% of men. And while 31% of women say they can access debt funding, 44% of men say they can.

Barriers to progress

Clearly there are improvements to be made. Let’s return to that initial EY stat: 76% of women in Fintech believe their firm is inclusive and 56% say it is diverse. Compared to a male perspective, the difference is stark: 95% of men believe their firm is inclusive, and 77% say it is diverse. If men are so significantly more positive about their company’s diversity and inclusion, making changes to achieve gender equality will be more of an uphill struggle.

Secondly, female-founded and led organisations have less access to equity and debt funding, than those founded by males. And thirdly, when it comes to hiring and employee reviews, female employees are less likely to negotiate on salary and bonuses.

Why change is important

Aside from plain old doing the right thing, attracting and retaining talent is also important for growth and revenue. In 2019, the UK Fintech industry generated approximately £11bn in revenue, and accounted for roughly 8% of total financial services output in the UK, while as Finextra reported earlier this year, UK Fintech investment soared to $37.3bn in 2021. It’s an increasingly important industry for the UK.

So much so that an independent study of the UK’s Fintech growth opportunities was commissioned by the Treasury, which flagged talent shortages as an issue. Fintechs need to engage talent to innovate and scale, so alongside upskilling workers and new visa streams, attracting and retaining women in the workplace is paramount. Creating a fair and attractive work environment is key, and there’s plenty of fintechs leading the way. Here we spotlight three who are hiring from the FinExtra Job Board.

1.   Zopa

Already well-established, Zopa is celebrating its 17th birthday. It received £220m in fundraising late last year and though revenues for 2020 were circa £30m, CEO Jadiev Jandarna says he expects full revenue for 2022 to be more than £150m. Zopa’s leadership team has female representation with Clare Gambardella as Chief Customer Officer, Merve Ferrero as Chief Strategy Officer and Helen Beurier as Chief People Officer. As the EY study shows that female-founded and female-led fintechs attract a higher proportion of female workers than male-founded ones, highlighting the importance of positive role models, it is hopeful to see gender representation in the C-suite. Meanwhile, the organisation's Inside Zopa blog series updates readers on what the organisation is doing to tackle their gender pay gap. See what opportunities are available at Zopa on the Job Board.

2.   Monzo

As the EY study showed that female employees were less likely to negotiate salary and bonuses when joining, but they were prepared to negotiate their working arrangements, like flexible scheduling; it is helpful to look towards organisations that already have flexible working in place. Monzo was already profiled as a fintech organisation offering good benefits for parents, and which offers flexible, remote and part-time roles. This leaves applicants with more head space for negotiating on salary and bonuses. Monzo has also been candid and transparent about its gender pay gap, for example when highlighted by the Gender Pay Gap Bot, tweeting: “In 2021, we reduced our median gender pay gap to 4%, down from 20% in April 2019. We reduced the gap by hiring and progressing women into senior roles, including positions in our executive committee and senior management.” View the gender pay gap update on the Monzo blog, and see what’s on offer at the Job Board.

3.   PayPal

PayPal recognised that Covid-19 reversed progression towards economic equity, stating in an article for International Women’s Day 2022: “We believe we have a responsibility to expand the role and participation of women in the financial system and the global economy.” As well as pledging over $100m to advance financial inclusion and economic empowerment for women and girls at the 2021 Generation Equality Forum, PayPal says it maintains “100% gender pay equity globally since becoming an independent company and providing strong family leave policies.” See the Job Board for more details on PayPal as an employer and to see open job opportunities.

Want to see which UK Fintech companies are hiring? Visit the FinExtra Job Board for hundreds more roles, and bookmark the link for regular check-ins.

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