How Can the Financial Services Industry Retain More Women?
A Look at Fidelity's Approach to Women's Career Growth and Engagement
According to a 2018 study by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.Org, 90% of companies say they prioritize gender diversity, but only 52% of employees agree. While many companies stop at verbal commitment, some select leaders are earnestly working towards a more diverse workplace.
Financial services firm, Fidelity Investments, is a prime example when it comes to women's engagement and career advancement in the industry. Fidelity feels strongly that women are a critical part of the future of financial services. The company wants more women to consider the industry, and Fidelity continues to do everything they can to ensure they provide a work environment that will allow women to build successful and rewarding careers.
So, what is Fidelity doing to ensure an inclusive and supportive culture for women?
We sat down with Nicole, a Relationship Manager at the firm, to better understand her perspective as a woman working in financial services.
From speaking with her, it is apparent that Fidelity has three key factors that drive women's engagement and career advancement:
1. Ensuring women's voices are heard
2. Providing opportunities for growth
3. Offering flexibility
Fidelity is successful at these things because the company is willing to consider what their employees say about their experiences and make concrete, positive changes.
Sound like a good fit? Check out Fidelity's open roles here and read on to learn more about Nicole's experience making her voice heard, capitalizing on opportunities for growth, and embracing flexibility at Fidelity.
As a Relationship Manager, Nicole partners with advisors in her local office and helps them support their clients. She's been at Fidelity for just over four years, and in spite of being fairly early in her career, she had no hesitation in saying, "I can really picture myself working at Fidelity for my entire career. I know Fidelity is going to support me in the path that I want to go down and help me get there."
So, what about Fidelity helped Nicole reach this conclusion? We took a look at the three key factors.
1) Fidelity listens to their employees and enacts their feedback, paying special attention to women's viewpoints in what's been a traditionally male-dominated industry.
All employees want to have their voices heard, but it's important for women to feel that their opinions are taken seriously.
Nicole is a participant in an effort - an advisory board - that focuses on ways to hire more women as well as retain the women already working at Fidelity Investments. Members have the opportunity to meet directly with the head of branches both virtually and in person.
Fidelity also offers Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) specifically for women to learn, grow, and collaborate with one another. There are several communities that employees can engage with, like the Women's Leadership Group (WLG). This group meets on a monthly basis and publishes articles, promotes employee success stories, partakes in community service, and works to encourage women at Fidelity on a regular basis.
Nicole also spoke of the importance to her of having female representation at leadership level and stated that "[she's] grateful just to be a part of a company that invests in women the way Fidelity does."
2) Fidelity provides ample opportunities for growth - inside and outside the company.
Nicole started out in an entry-level position straight out of college, and the opportunities for growth -- from programs to learn the hard skills necessary to succeed in financial services to the multitude of career paths one can take within the company -- are what excite her most about Fidelity.
When Nicole started, she didn't have any of her financial licensing or a background in financial services, so she really benefited from Fidelity's hands-on approach to help her get licensed. "Everyone gets placed in a group where you're working together through the material at a consistent pace to get licensed. Once I was fully licensed, I went to an actual core training course for a week in Chicago. Learning the ins and outs of what [I was] supposed to do on a daily basis and then hearing best practices from other people was super helpful."
The learning doesn't stop once you're fully licensed. "We also have learning and training modules online that we can go through whenever. So, if there's something you want to gain more insight on or learn a little more about, there's definitely a spot to go and find that information."
The opportunity to learn and grow goes beyond career-specific skills. Nicole used Fidelity's tuition reimbursement program to obtain her Certified Financial Planner™ certification. Alternatively, many of her colleagues use it more for personal development, or higher education like an MBA.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Nicole talked about the many different career paths that one can take at Fidelity and the goals she already has for herself there. "I think Fidelity really wants you to decide where you want to go. They're not going to tell you what path to take, but they want you to decide how you want to succeed, and then they'll help you get to your goal." It should be noted that not every job at Fidelity requires licensing.
3) Fidelity gives their employees the flexibility to work where they're most productive.
Finally, flexibility is another key way that companies can keep employees, including women, engaged and happy. Women and men alike take advantage of flexibility when it is offered.
As the tools for how we work have evolved, so has our understanding of the traditional workplace. While offices are still particularly important in an industry where meeting with clients is a central part of the job, providing employees the flexibility to work from home at times can offer them the reset they need to feel productive and engaged in the long-term.
Depending on their role, employees have the opportunity to work from home. Nicole has started to take advantage of the flexibility to work from anywhere. "Fidelity believes in work-life balance and being able to work from home is a huge benefit to me. When I'm working from home in my own environment, my productivity levels actually increase, and the flexibility definitely cuts down on my travel time as well. On the days that I do work from home, I can spend more time with my husband, which is really important to me."
Nicole's experience at Fidelity's branches helps to highlight the importance of listening to women's experiences and offering opportunities for growth and flexibility. This article touched on just some of the many ways that Fidelity is going the extra mile to foster an inclusive culture that empowers its employees to blaze their own trail. They are always searching for outstanding individuals to enrich their offices with fresh perspectives.
If you're interested in starting or continuing your career in financial services and working at a company where women's career advancement and engagement are priorities, be sure to check out these open roles at Fidelity