How More Women Than Ever Are CFOs in London

Posted On Sunday, 27 November 2022 20:18

Gender diversity is one of the biggest goals in the UK financial sector. While women have been progressing through the industry since the ‘80s, the number of female CFOs still puts them in a small minority. Women now make up 43% of the UK’s financial sector with more women than ever becoming CFOs in London.

While there’s been progress, there’s still a mountain to climb. The UK government is working towards more gender diversity across business sectors with a specific focus on the financial industry. Although women now account for an estimated third of all board positions within FTSE 100 companies, only 15% of FTSE 100 finance directors are women.

London leads the way for gender diversity, while only 12% of CFOs globally are women. Recruitment agencies, such as FD Capital, are seeing a steady increase in female candidates with more women being actively hired for senior financial executive roles, including CFOs.

The pandemic’s push towards a flexible working society means that more women than ever can become CFOs. While we should celebrate this achievement, it’s important to look at why more women are becoming CFOs and how recruitment agencies can help more women progress in their financial careers.

Why More Women Are Becoming CFOs

There is a myriad of reasons why more women are becoming CFOs. One reason is that companies are recruiting women for financial roles at every level, enabling them to develop their careers towards leadership positions. Gone are the days when only a few women would have the qualifications and skills to apply for a CFO position. 

There is a generation of women who have progressed through their financial careers almost on par with their male counterparts. Companies are increasingly taking more of a risk with internal recruitment, many of them choosing female candidates from within their organisation. 

On the flip side, recruitment agencies are also seeing a rise in successful female candidates. Research conducted by New York University suggests that female CEOs behave differently from their male counterparts, providing more data-driven answers than their wordier male peers. 

Companies with female leadership are proven to be more profitable with a recent S&P Global report suggesting they generate an estimated $1.8 trillion more in profit than the industry average. This statistic is strongest among companies with over 30% female executives, consistently outperforming companies with a smaller percentage of gender diversity.

Companies with more gender-diverse leadership teams have a more engaged workforce and higher performance. Hiring female CFOs leads to better decision-making while having a positive impact on the company’s performance. 

Mentoring, Networking, and Barrier Breaking

Women who work in the financial sector and senior leadership roles face the same barriers to entry, including balancing their work and personal life. The most common challenges can be overcome when female professionals have the right support and mentoring. 

As there’s only a small percentage of female CFOs, most of this mentoring comes from male CFOs, who play a vital role in progressing gender diversity within the industry.

Research shows that women who get career advice from leadership executives are more likely to be promoted and progress in their careers. It’s no surprise that companies are investing in mentoring female professionals, benefiting financially as more women move up the career ladder.

A 2019 study by S&P Global Market found that companies with a female CFO saw a 6% increase in profits within the first two years. It’s why over a third of CEOs view gender diversity as a principal measure of success when analysing their performance.

Companies are working with boutique financial recruitment agencies, including FD Capital, to actively recruit female professionals. FD Capital is seeing a growth in demand for London CFOs with remote and hybrid working opportunities leading to more female candidates.

Every aspect of the financial industry must work together to break down barriers through mentoring and networking to create more gender diversity.

Flexible and Remote Working

Why are more women becoming CFOs in London? The UK spent longer than most countries in lockdown during the pandemic, leading to the widespread adoption of remote and flexible working. It addresses two of the reasons why most women don’t progress in their financial careers – strict business cultures and an inability to balance work with caring responsibility.

Women offered the option of part-time or flexible work and supported by their mentors and employers are more likely to pick up their careers and continue to progress after having children. FD Capital is seeing a rise in job opportunities for fractional CFOs working on a part-time basis for London companies.

Remote CFO positions and part-time opportunities mean that more women can balance the duality of their life. Start-ups in London are more likely to hire a part-time CFO, allowing female candidates to develop their experience and build their CVs. 

The overarching benefit of flexible and remote working is that it creates a more sustainable pipeline of female candidates who don’t have to pause their careers while having children. A more inclusive workplace and hybrid offices will allow women to continue to progress in their careers alongside their personal lives.

Developing the Pipeline

If we want to see more women become CFOs in London, we have to develop the pipeline. It starts with providing female role models for candidates at every stage in their careers. 

While FD Capital specialises in CFO recruitment, the agency has seen an increase in female candidates across the board. Talent attraction is vital to create a pipeline of experienced female professionals to develop their careers towards the role of CFO. Working with a recruitment agency is vital for attracting talent and promoting fairness and opportunity, two qualities that make employees more engaged and likely to progress their careers internally. 

How are more women becoming CFOs in London? The industry has developed to become more inclusive with the pandemic pushing a drive towards remote and flexible working. Research suggests that women are more commercially aware than their male counterparts, driven by data, and improving company profits within the first two years. 

Companies that work with recruitment agencies to identify female talent will make the commercial and financial gains that come with gender diversity. While we’re seeing more women become CFOs in London, there’s still a mountain to climb.

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