Finance’s Failure to Advance Diverse Talent
The data showed that 52% of finance employees are women, significantly higher than the average of 42% for all corporate functions. Yet, despite this relatively positive performance overall, there is still further to go when it comes to advancing women to senior finance roles. Women made up nearly 60% of junior-level roles, but only 40% of senior roles, suggesting the pathway to the CFO’s office is not as clearly illuminated for female candidates.
The drop off in advancement was even more stark for employees who identified as people of color. Sixteen percent filled junior-level roles, while just 6% of senior-level positions were filled by people of color.
“Much of the focus on improving diversity has been placed at the hiring level and removing unconscious biases there continues to be an important project,” said Mr. Kotey. “However, there also needs to be a plan for encouraging these employees to advance through the ranks. One of the best strategies is connecting junior-level employees to senior-level mentors from similar backgrounds, which is why it’s so critical there are clear pathways to advancement for women and people of color.”
Mr. Kotey provided additional recommendations for senior finance leaders on how to prioritize clear communications around career path clarity. These include:
- Provide a clear outline of the steps needed to advance within the finance department and a close examination of any areas that may be causing a drop off in the talent pipeline for diverse employees and/or candidates.
- Encourage a culture of lateral movement by making it easy for employees to find internal opportunities and provide adequate financial compensation for doing so.
- Establish guidelines to ensure managers are communicating new roles and opportunities to all employees.
Finance’s Unique Position to Support Diversity
Even as finance grapples with improving its own departmental DEI metrics, it is uniquely positioned to support organizational change through advocating for resources and providing finance-specific expertise to assist other functions.
“We see progressive finance leaders in this area partnering with HR leaders to establish pay equity metrics, encourage consistent financial accountability when it comes to DEI metrics across departments and provide assistance to other departments in setting up DEI budgets,” said Mr. Kotey. “CFOs should be motivated to do better with these metrics, beyond it being the right thing to do, DEI metrics will increasingly be a part of how society, investors and the media view an organization.”
Gartner clients can learn more on the state of DEI in Finance at: The State of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Finance.
Non clients can learn more here: Digital Future of Finance.
CFOs and finance leaders can participate in Gartner research and get complementary access by joining the Gartner Research Circle.
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