Women in Finance: what it takes to get ahead in this sector

| July 30, 2013

Financial institutions are increasingly waking up to the value women as leaders can bring to their organisation and steps are being taken to bridge the divide. Lorna Nolan explains. 

Significant progress has been made by Australia’s Financial Service Industries in the drive to dispel the gender gap at senior executive level. However equality between males and females is still a long way from being a reality.

Despite women representing more than 50 per cent of the accounting, insurance and professional services industries at graduate level, this figure decreases dramatically upon moving up the ranks to C-suite level, with only 30 per cent of executive management positions held by females.

A measurable disparity also continues to exist between the corresponding salaries of both sexes at executive level.

According to the latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia’s Financial Service Industries have one of the widest pay gaps, with a 31.3 per cent disproportion between the salaries of males and females.

By contrast Australia as a whole has a gender pay gap of 17.4 per cent.

Nonetheless financial institutions are increasingly waking up to the value women as leaders can bring to their organisation and steps are being taken to bridge the divide.

Stringent regulatory and policy changes have been implemented across the board at corporate governance level and all publicly listed companies in Australia are now required to report their diversity programs and gender composition programs for those at a senior level.

Incentives to encourage women back into the industry after starting a family are beginning to become more commonplace, while flexibility is increasingly being introduced as a workplace policy to benefit employees, regardless of gender.

With opportunities increasingly on the rise for females in this traditionally male dominated industry, it is vital that women wishing to progress into senior level roles are armed with the leadership skills, empowerment and resilience to succeed.

Challenging the significant under-representation of women at executive level head on, the inaugural Women in Finance Leadership Summit 2013 will equip delegates with the key tools needed to overcome obstacles, challenge organisational culture and persevere with their career aspirations.

A highly successful financial leader, Sara Watts, Chief Financial Officer at IBM, is one of the key speaker’s set to appear at the Summit and will share her wealth of wisdom with delegates in an hour long case study presentation.

Having held senior finance roles covering business process management, finance process transformation, and internal audit, Sara is well versed to share her personal insights from her inspiring journey from science graduate to CFO.

Also not to be missed at this stellar event is New Zealand Businesswoman and philanthropist, Theresa Gattung, who was ranked at number 49 on the Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful Women in 2006.

The Former Chief Executive Officer of Telecom New Zealand will offer a candid and open overview of how she learned from her own mistakes as well as successes to ensure the powerful leadership of a strong executive team.

The stellar line-up at the Women in Finance Leadership Summit 2013 also boasts Chief Financial Officer at the Australian Taxation Office, Frances Cawthra, Director, Women’s Markets at Westpac, Larke Riemer and Chief Executive Officer at Green Cross Australia, Mara Bunn to name but a few.

Liquid Learning is delighted to present this empowering experience for women leaders across all levels in Financial industries. Featuring an inspiring mix of practical case studies, expert sessions and interactive workshops, the Women in Finance Leadership Summit will take place at the Palazzo Versace Hotel, on the Gold Coast on 19th and 20th August.

For more information or to book a place at once of these events, Liquid Learning can be contacted on  02 8239 9700 or marketing@liquidlearning.com.au.



An integral member of the Liquid Learning Group’s production team, Lorna Nolan’s role as a Conference and Training Producer sees her utilise her research, journalism and project management skills to produce a range of professional development eventstargeting the development needs of senior leaders within large organisations across Australia and New Zealand. A Journalism graduate, her passion lies in the written word. Her previous experience includes a stint at a Sydney based newspaper, as well as a long term role with a national newspaper in her native Ireland. In 2010 she was awarded the title of ‘Irish Travel Extra Young Journalist of the Year.’