Women and Financial Advising Careers: Perspectives and Priorities

Financial Advising on the Rise, But Lacking a “Woman’s Touch”

Recruiting Female Advisors More Important with Growth in Women’s Market 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) today released new research findings identifying strategies to recruit women to the financial advising field -- a career projected to grow 32 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Presently only three in 10 advisors are female, yet 70 percent of women would prefer to work with a female advisor. This presents a significant opportunity for female advisors, as women continue to own a greater share of financial assets and take more control of financial decision making.

“What we have is a women’s market that is flourishing,” said Cathy Weatherford, IRI President and CEO. “By and large, women consumers would prefer to work with women advisors. The financial advising field is already experiencing considerable growth, but given the emergence of the women’s market, the opportunities for women advisors are more than substantial. As such, firms’ ability to recruit and retain women advisors is only going to grow in importance.”

Key findings from the report:

  • The survey of college-educated women aged 25 to 49 found job-training provisions would increase the likelihood of women pursuing careers as financial advisors. On-the-job training would be the most effective, followed by online training or training through a local college or university.
  • When evaluating a job, 94 percent of college-educated women value work/life balance. Among other very or extremely important factors, 90 percent value a good relationship with their boss, 87 percent value meaningful work, 85 percent value good relationships with colleagues, and 85 percent value salary. 
  • Of women who expressed an interest in becoming a financial advisor, salary considerations and growth of the field were the primary drivers.
  • Firms can enhance their appeal to women by providing affinity groups and mentoring programs to enhance on-the-job training. When recruiting female advisors, firms should emphasize these programs as well as efforts to improve work/life balance to overcome perception barriers regarding generating clients and job stress.
  • Testing associated with licensing to become a financial advisor does not inhibit most women from pursuing the profession. Three-quarters of women said testing has no influence on their interest in becoming an advisor. 

The full report can be found HERE.