Baby boomer women in banking are closing in on retirement and reflecting on careers that saw tremendous advancement of women in the industry. They have every reason to be proud of their accomplishments. But are women who entered banking a generation ago leaving behind better career opportunities for the generation of Millennial women who will follow them? Has a trail worth following been blazed?
Looking around today you’ll find far fewer young women eagerly pursuing banking careers. There are many reasons for this: disappearing jobs, stagnant salaries, loss of prestige and fulfillment in being a banker, few role models and even fewer mentors to help them along the way.
Banking is one of the few business sectors that has not recovered the jobs it lost during the Great Recession. The industry is, in fact, still shedding jobs, thanks in part to the shrinking number of banks in the U.S.
To make matters worse, publicity following Kevin Roose’s book, Young Money: Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street’s Post-Crash Recruits further damaged the already fragile allure of the entry-level banking analyst job. Roose’s book directly targeted a Millennial audience. Two of the eight analysts profiled in the book are identified as female. He did not paint a pretty picture of a career in banking. The larger banks responded by implementing programs to improve analysts’ quality of work life and significantly increased the size of their 2014 classes. Nevertheless, the Wall Street Journal “MoneyBeat” blog noted last month that a larger percent than ever of the analysts’ classes are opting out of banking and pursuing other careers.
For those banks hoping to capitalize on the value Millennials place on corporate social responsibility and good corporate citizenship, their efforts are often falling on deaf ears. A recent survey reported by FastCompany indicates 4 out of the 10 brands most hated by Millennials are banks and the generation views banks as irrelevant. Seventy-one percent (71%) of Millennials surveyed said they would “rather go to the dentist than listen to what bankers are saying.”
But the saddest development of all, in my opinion, is that there are so few really successful female role models in banking to which the younger generation can point as examples to follow. Note that I didn’t say there are no examples of successful women in banking. That’s not true. There are. But after a generation of hard work and perseverance, shouldn’t there be more? Heather Landy, former Editor of American Banker magazine, made a similar point earlier this summer when she wrote about the dwindling number of female CEOs in banks with over $10 billion in assets.
To truly appreciate the contrast between the current state of banking for younger women and the one entered by the baby boomers at the beginning of their careers, it helps to look at the environment then. Doors of opportunity were opening.
Banks were developing programs to increase diversity at higher levels of management. Women were being invited to join training and development programs in which they had never before participated. New benefits, such as paternity leaves, were coming into existence to support their new careers. And banking was considered to be an enviable path to pursue. Bankers, along with doctors and lawyers, were viewed as pillars of their communities.
Women could clearly see opportunity for advancement in banking. And their salaries grew accordingly. It was certainly not an easy road to travel, but it was rewarding.
Today the future for women in banking doesn’t look overwhelmingly bright. You can, of course, make the argument that it is just as challenging for men. But men have historically held the positions of influence in banking and they continue to hold them.
As a woman of the baby boomer generation in banking, I wish we were leaving a more widely blazed trail to a clearly desirable career destination for our daughters and granddaughters to follow.
Total Financial Activities employment increased by 12,000 in September, which compared with an average monthly job gain of 7,000 over the past year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on October 3. Employment increased in securities and insurance carriers. There was little charge to employment in real estate. Employment declined in commercial banking.
Securities gained 4,800 job in September and has increased by 22,100 jobs over the past year.
In September, insurance carriers and related activities’ job growth continued to trend up (+6,300). This is slightly higher than its average monthly job gain of 5,300 over the prior twelve months. Insurance and related activities is up by 62,400 jobs over the past year.
Credit intermediation employment was unchanged in September and 41,700 jobs have been lost over the past year. Within the industry, commercial banking was unchanged and 33,800 jobs have been lost over the past year. Average monthly job loss in credit intermediation and commercial banking is 3,900 and 2,700, respectively.
Real estate and rental and leasing showed little change over the month and is up by 46,300 jobs over the year. Average monthly job gain in real estate and rental and leasing is 3,700 over the prior twelve months.
Overall, a total of 89,000 jobs have been added to the Financial Activities industry since September 2013.
Over the past twelve months, the average weekly earnings of Financial Activities employees have risen by 2.7 percent.
Every year, almost 1 million people die by suicide worldwide. The number of lives lost each year through suicide exceeds the number of deaths due to homicide and war combined. For each suicide, it is estimated an additional 6 people are affected by the death. It is likely that you, or someone you know, has been impacted by suicide.
The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are committed to preventing suicide. These organizations recognize and promote World Suicide Prevention Day annually to bring together individuals and organizations with an interest in suicide prevention and to mobilize efforts to save lives.
World Suicide Prevention Day 2014, September 10, is significant because it marks the release by the WHO of the World Suicide Report. The World Suicide Report is the most comprehensive, up-to-date record of the current status of suicide prevention internationally.
The theme of World Suicide Prevention Day 2014 is ‘Suicide Prevention: One World Connected’.
Connectedness is crucial to individuals who may be vulnerable to suicide. …social isolation can increase the risk of suicide, and conversely, having strong human bonds can be protective against it. Reaching out to those who have become disconnected from others and offering them support and friendship may be a life-saving act.
Other ways in which you can connect with the global community to raise awareness and help prevent suicide on September 10:
- Light a candle near a window at 8 p.m. on September 10 in support of World Suicide Prevention Day, suicide prevention and awareness, survivors of suicide and for the memory of loved lost ones;
- Participate in local memorial services, events, candlelight ceremonies or walks to remember those who have died by suicide;
- Visit the World Suicide Prevention Day Facebook Event Page at https://www.facebook.com/events/255898161201511/
Total Financial Activities employment increased by 7,000 in August, which compared with an average monthly gain of 5,000 over the past year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week. Job gains occurred in insurance carriers and related activities. Employment in commercial banking, securities and real estate showed little change over the month. (See Table B-1)
Credit intermediation and related activities showed little change over the month (+500) and lost 51,900 jobs over the past year. Within the industry, commercial banking was unchanged in August (-100) and lost 34,400 jobs over the past year. Average monthly job loss in credit intermediation and commercial banking is 4,300 and 3,000, respectively.
Securities showed little change over the month (+800) and has increased by 14,900 jobs over the past year.
In August, insurance carriers and related activities continued to trend up in August (+6,200). This is slightly higher than its average monthly job gain of 5,000 over the past year. Insurance and related activities is up by 60,400 over the past year.
Real estate and rental and leasing showed little change over the month (-800) and is up by 42,000 jobs over the year. Average monthly job gain in real estate and rental and leasing is 3,300 over the past year.
Over the year, average weekly earnings of Financial Activities employees have risen 1.7 percent.