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Sex discrimination in the finance industry

I am reading the report right now, but from a higher level, I wish people would just agree that maybe men are naturally more interested in certain areas, as are women. In the US the majority of nurses are women, even though there is a huge demand for nurses in general and male ones specifically.

In fact, women have been effected less during this recession because the industries they tend to gravitate towards are more in demand or less recession proof. How many female construction workers or factory workers are there? Women now make up the majority of college students also.

Wish things were painted with a little bit more of a fair brush.
 

bob

Faculty (Undercover)
It's true that women generally may have different preferences than men generally when it comes to many things, but I'd be interested to hear why this means that the women who are interested in finance and work there somehow deserve lower pay.
 
It makes a lot of sense, and I suspect it's not really discrimination. Gaps in salary in general are larger in the financial sector. Everything is scaled up. So given that women's career goals and preferences are likely to be different, their salaries will be different.
 
I agree! It doesn't make any sense. Besides the salary gap, even at internships and work women are usually treated differently. I remember when i first started interning at a small hedge fund, i spent most of the time making copies and getting lunch compared to the male cohorts (that's just my opinion).
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
Amber makes an interesting point but it's a complex issue.
In the early days of my last real job I was perceived as arrogant (who me ?) and not meshing with the team as well as I should.

So I took to picking up coffees for people, an easy fix since I drink more than most anyway. The trick in this is to mesh with the team you are in. Women are often not good enough at it, yes of course there is sexism, but its something to be dealt with, not just bitched about like in the report that BBW cites.

Also the methodology is shit, I know there's sexism and we all know that the bonus system is defective in many ways but frankly if the only information I had was this "report" I wouldn't believe that sexism existed, it is that poorly executed.
 
Amber makes an interesting point but it's a complex issue.
In the early days of my last real job I was perceived as arrogant (who me ?) and not meshing with the team as well as I should.

So I took to picking up coffees for people, an easy fix since I drink more than most anyway. The trick in this is to mesh with the team you are in. Women are often not good enough at it, yes of course there is sexism, but its something to be dealt with, not just bitched about like in the report that BBW cites.

Also the methodology is shit, I know there's sexism and we all know that the bonus system is defective in many ways but frankly if the only information I had was this "report" I wouldn't believe that sexism existed, it is that poorly executed.

I agree with both of you and Anthony. On average, women are not good "team players", they are more interested in their individual goals. (For this reason, you cannot go to war with only women - I know there are other factors as well, like physical, etc.). Actually, at my workplace, I have a very big problem with two women - they are gossiping, complaining, don't pass their knowledge for selfish reasons, etc - it is just impossible to work with them.

Anthony - you're totally right. Women and men have different interests, and this is not social condition, this is how we are born. For example, men are more interested in fixing things, than women - women don't work as auto mechanic, or very rare (I have never met one.) The reason for the men's underrepresentation in nursing, because women are more into nurturing. I think, this is natural.

Also, women tend to go for a job that provides more security, men are more inclined to take risk for the opportunity for more money.

But...when a woman performs equal, or higher quality job than her male co-worker (let's say in finance or information technology), many times the salary is still lower, or with the same qualification, a woman would not even get the job. There are many reasons for that - one of my single female friends told me that with extensive programming experience, 2 languages besides her native language (English and German), with 2 masters degree, a company wanted to hire her as a "receptionist", because "she is looking good". (now she works as an SAP analyst in Munich, at BMW)
Also, I have seen many times that the management's attitude to women with children is "oh, she is only a mom, why would we pay her more, when she would not leave this job anyway").
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
Georgina, I have anecdotal evidence that identically performing women get paid less, but I have never ever seen clear data. In all the cases I've seen the numbers there is considerably arm waving and nonsense like "equal worth" whatever that means. That doesn't mean I don't believe it happens it means the personal integrity of the researchers is so low that I find myself doubting things I thought to be undeniably true. The shit report starts with the conclusion it would like to be true then offers no decent evidence at all.
There are of course difficulties, most of us have jobs where comparing quality of work objectively is very hard unless the differences are very great. In our particular case, I'd laugh in the face of someone who said Quant A was 10% better than Quant B, we just can't measure that finely.

Georgina, I have no interest in people that speak any language other than English, it's not my problem if they were born speaking it or something else. >120 million people speak German how hard can it be if you have an adequate memory and a high boredom threshold ?
I note more sexism in the German job market than the British one, though even that falls far short of ideal but she did herself no favours if she trumpeted her language skills. C++, SQL, Java et al are based on English, why should I care if she knows some "native" language ? There are jobs where it is useful, hence the receptionist offer, if you don't want to be offered secretarial work, don't sell yourself on secretarial skills.

As a headhunter I will state as fact that in US/UK banking a women is on average more likely to get a job in the areas I work in than an equivalent male, no recruiters has ever argued that point with me, some deride me for stating something they see as trivially obvious.
Of course few women are equivalent when they drone on languages on their CVs and amongst the most onerous tasks I have is talking to female candidates about programming, none has actually cried on my shoulder over the prospect of writing code, but that day is coming. Some have literally just stared at me when I broached the subject.

And for the record, women do have babies. I'm a father of two of them. One bad side effect of the law around this is that you can't discuss it rationally with the prospective employee, I assume everyone here has read the market for lemons by Akerhof ?
 
Georgina, I have anecdotal evidence that identically performing women get paid less, but I have never ever seen clear data. In all the cases I've seen the numbers there is considerably arm waving and nonsense like "equal worth" whatever that means. That doesn't mean I don't believe it happens it means the personal integrity of the researchers is so low that I find myself doubting things I thought to be undeniably true. The shit report starts with the conclusion it would like to be true then offers no decent evidence at all.
There are of course difficulties, most of us have jobs where comparing quality of work objectively is very hard unless the differences are very great. In our particular case, I'd laugh in the face of someone who said Quant A was 10% better than Quant B, we just can't measure that finely.

Georgina, I have no interest in people that speak any language other than English, it's not my problem if they were born speaking it or something else. >120 million people speak German how hard can it be if you have an adequate memory and a high boredom threshold ?
I note more sexism in the German job market than the British one, though even that falls far short of ideal but she did herself no favours if she trumpeted her language skills. C++, SQL, Java et al are based on English, why should I care if she knows some "native" language ? There are jobs where it is useful, hence the receptionist offer, if you don't want to be offered secretarial work, don't sell yourself on secretarial skills.

As a headhunter I will state as fact that in US/UK banking a women is on average more likely to get a job in the areas I work in than an equivalent male, no recruiters has ever argued that point with me, some deride me for stating something they see as trivially obvious.
Of course few women are equivalent when they drone on languages on their CVs and amongst the most onerous tasks I have is talking to female candidates about programming, none has actually cried on my shoulder over the prospect of writing code, but that day is coming. Some have literally just stared at me when I broached the subject.

And for the record, women do have babies. I'm a father of two of them. One bad side effect of the law around this is that you can't discuss it rationally with the prospective employee, I assume everyone here has read the market for lemons by Akerhof ?

Domini,

Thanks for your answer. I think part of it was misunderstanding. This happened in Eastern Europe, and speaking 2 languages (English and German) are important, if you want to find a good job (And, unfortunately, still few achive it in that country.) . My friend did apply for a programming job, and they wanted to offer her a secretarial position . Now she is a very successful programmer/analyst in Munich, Germany. But let's not talk about Eastern Europe.

The other part of my posting is happening in New York, where I'm talking about giving raises, promotions (NOT about hiring). I have seen many times, that the mgmt is very slow to give raise a woman with children, because they are thinking, that she would not leave anyway. It is true, up to a point, as a mother, it is not easy to give up a "secure job", but when this is happening, mgmt is surprised.

I agree with you, that it is very difficult to decide at hiring, who is better, but again, I'm talking about performance at the job (both quantity and quality). And it is somehow measurable.

I think, that the sex discrimination probably is not happening in your area (quant positions) - because the company needs to make money, and the best candidate should be hired/promoted, regardless of sex, or other factors. But I work at a government office, where "making money" and "performance" is not as important, and unfortunately, this city government has a reputation of being corrupt, and giving positions to "their friends".
 
I have seen many times, that the mgmt is very slow to give raise a woman with children, because they are thinking, that she would not leave anyway.

I have seen the same logic applied to the employment of fresh graduates, by a past employer of mine. "We don't hire young people straight from uni, because they all want to work a couple years then quit and go travelling." I see that as less any sort of unfair discrimination, and partly just cold hard financially sound reasoning. Investing in staff and skilling them up can be expensive. If that investment is going to walk out the door, (because of children, travel, using your company to upskill solely to get a next job etc), you can't blame an employer for being hesitant?
 

Yike Lu

Finder of biased coins.
I was briefly at a job where if you were there for a few months and told your manager you were thinking about quitting, they would give you a $2/hr raise in an effort to keep you. Are they discriminating against people who aren't thinking about quitting?

Obviously, discrimination is a real issue, but I hope my example illustrates the financial portion of the reasoning.
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
Yike Lu brings up a point, that it is a labour market, and that it is hard for an employer to pay much less than others for the same quality of staff and it becomes an irrational choice when they lose staff because of it.

A perception I see in both women and their employers is that women are less likely to move if you treat them badly. One example is a woman I know who missed a promotion because of the candidates she was seen that the least likely to leave. How much of that was being female I couldn't say precisely, but she did quit.

Women are also seen as more risk averse, which may be true of the general population (or maybe false) but does not seem to be true of women in this line of work, or if it is true, the difference is too small for me to see.

There exist a bunch of minor factors which affect women by correlation but are not directly sexist.
Possibly the biggest in banking is sport. Various managers have explicitly told me of their liking of people who do various sports.
Some engage candidates in discussions about it in the interviews, others just see it as a "good thing". On average women are less likely to be interested or participate in sport. Also women seem to list few "cool and unusual" things on their CVs, not a major thing, but again pushes the correlation up, and there's a swarm of other minors like options taken during education, even when the broad outline is much the same as a male candidate.

I agree that government work is often more prejudiced than the finance sector, the only person that I know for a fact was fired for his race worked at a UK government agency, and the ratio of women at low pay grades to men is quite striking.

So...A question I'd pose is whether finance is worse than the society in which it exists ?

I don't see manufacturing as enlightened and if next time you visit a supermarket you may see that the male/female ratio is really different amongst the low paid drones vs management. Politics in most countries is almost exclusively male around the top, and accusations of sexism abound in academia and seem to be supported by the numbers.
I've worked in the media and that is sooo much more sexist than banking that you'd think discrimination was compulsory, not illegal.

Actually in some countries, it is compulsory, almost.
A while back a very large bank called the managers of the firms it did recruitment through to explain new procedures to monitor diversity. It started off as dull as you might expect, but part of the process was that the bank would send a sex/race/age/etc questionnaire directly to the applicant and part of our contracts was that the recruitment firm was forbidden to put such details in the application, the idea being that hiring managers would not have "irrelevant" details sent, but a separate process would capture diversity stats.
We were assured that the sex/race/faith data would play no part in the recruitment decision and I accepted this and it was not a real issue that I could see.
This bank recruits globally including countries where not only are there no discrimination laws but also varying degrees of government push to encourage discrimination, not only sex and race but whether you are the right sort of Moslem or other faith group. The recruiters for these markets were very reluctant to take part in the process because their candidates would assume that the bank was discriminating, they were very clear about this. It takes a lot for account managers to tell a large bank in an open meeting how dumb their process was for them.
 
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