Long reads

The Zoom ceiling is the new glass ceiling

Kirstie McDermott

Kirstie McDermott

Senior Content Editor, Amply

In 1978, writer Marilyn Loden coined the term “the glass ceiling” to describe the often invisible barriers women and minorities face in the workplace. While women do not tend to experience difficulty entering organisations at lower-to-middle levels, they often get stuck when they seek to advance to leadership positions and their numbers dwindle.

However, there is some good news for women in the UK in terms of the glass ceiling. According to a recent report from the Department for Business, Energy, & Industrial Strategy, the UK is now second in international rankings for women’s representation on boards at FTSE 100 level. These days nearly 40% of these positions are held by women, compared with just 12.5% ten years ago.

The government points to its voluntary, business-led approach to setting targets as the lever which has gotten more women on boards. As a result, the UK progressed from fifth to second in the international rankings at FTSE 100 level, leapfrogging countries such as Norway, which enforces a mandatory quota system on businesses when it comes to female representation.

Yet the work is far from over. The pandemic has uncovered new ways in which women’s careers can be compromised, and one of these is the new iteration of the glass ceiling: the Zoom ceiling; essentially a symptom of lack of proximity bias. This mostly affects women, people of colour, and those with disabilities, because these cohorts are most likely to opt for remote work.

Proximity bias is a workplace phenomenon in which those who are physically closer to company leaders – for example, those who may be in the office more often – are more influential and advance in their careers more quickly.  A key driver of proximity bias is the often incorrect assumption that people are more productive in an office environment than they are at home.

One survey found that 68% of women are opting to work remotely post-pandemic, compared to 57% of men. When people are working remotely, they can be passed over for opportunities, in terms of training, project work or even promotions, stalling or tanking their career prospects.

Offices have always had star performers and those who find it easier to get the ear of the higher-ups, but the Zoom ceiling can disproportionately affect women, people of colour, and those with disabilities. Consciously done or not, it is the manifestation of employer prejudice against remote workers.

If you find that you are coming up against a zoom ceiling in your workplace, it may be time to look for a new job. We have highlighted three below, and there are many more to discover on the Finextra Job Board.

Head of EMEA Fixed Income Index Product, Bloomberg, London

Bloomberg is looking to hire a Head of EMEA Product Management for its market leading fixed income index business. You will be managing an established and highly motivated index product team and will focus on the governance, construction, support, and commercialisation of fixed income indices, product positioning, and helping drive the commercial success of the business.

You will help drive the integration of the fixed income indices with Bloomberg terminal analytics that will create new opportunities across two market leading brands in the index industry. You will need over ten years of index industry, or equivalent experience as well as experience in leading a team, setting priorities, and developing their careers. A strong academic background in analytical/technical qualifications such as finance, engineering, computer science, maths, or statistics is also required. Get the full details here.

Manager - Banking Data Governance, PwC, London

The Manager - Banking Data Governance will be joining a team which leads in the development and execution of data governance strategy and capabilities, supporting financial services organisations in managing data risk, and maximising the value of data as an asset. You will lead the development of data strategies, data policies, and data governance capabilities and deliver added value to clients by providing knowledge, ideas, and solutions for improving their data governance and management approach, including experience of challenges and opportunities. You will also integrate and embed a strong culture of data governance across people, process, and technology, supporting risk reduction and enabling rapid business insights, transformation, and innovation. Get the full job description here.

Treasury Analyst 1, FIS Global, London

In support of the Corporate Treasury Bank Administration team, the primary role of the Treasury Analyst is to assist in documentation management, bank account openings, scheduled review processes, and global know your customer (KYC) requests. You will be doing bank account management including preparing documentation for account openings, service changes, signatory updates and other tasks as required, liaising with various FIS product and operational business units to complete KYC requests from standard to complex in nature, and communicating regularly with banking partners on routine account reviews and entity requests.

You will need a Bachelor's degree in accounting, finance or related discipline and a minimum of a year of similar work experience. Get the full job description here.

For more great roles in tech all across the UK, visit the Finextra Job Board today.

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