A male dominated management culture is hindering gender diversity and preventing women reaching the top levels in banking, according to a report published by the Institute of Leadership and Management.
The Women in Banking report found that nearly half (48 per cent of women) working in the banking sector believed that they faced barriers to career progression because of their gender, with more than a third (36 per cent) of men agreeing that this is the case.
“Rather than a single ‘glass ceiling’, we see a series of barriers that filter out female talent at each stage of the management hierarchy,” said Charles Elvin, chief executive of the Institute of Leadership and Management. “This under-representation is in many instances due to the management practices, attitudes and behaviour of senior managers.”
Topping the list of these barriers was the attitudes of senior male managers with 72 per cent of women questioned finding this restrictive, while a large proportion (70 per cent) also felt that the greater proportion of men in senior roles was also holding women back.
Organisational structure, the lack of flexible working opportunities and a shortage of female role models were other major areas in which the banking industry was shown to fall short.
Jane C Woods, director of changingpeople.co.uk, believes that the barriers stifling gender diversity in the workplace have emerged out of a respect for what are usually considered to be ‘male’ qualities.
“Most of the things that we think are good about business are male characteristics,” she said.
“By and large the worlds of work like banking, which are very old, established industries, have been designed along [male] lines. Had it had some women in actual positions of authority it would have evolved differently.”
However, Ms Woods emphasised that this attitude could be holding companies back in the world of business.
“Generally, being risk averse in the world of work is not necessarily seen as a great thing for women,” she added. “The idea of the aggressive, macho, alpha male going in and doing difficult things [dominates]. But if you had both, you may well get a healthier response.”