Insight & Analysis

Women in Treasury Global Study 2022: equality still stymied by unequal pay and board level representation

Published: Oct 2022

Treasury Today’s Women in Treasury Global Study, sponsored by State Street Global Advisors, finds evident progress in the quest for gender equality in treasury. Still, areas of female inequality persist like pay equality between men and women, and female board level representation. Elsewhere the survey reveals men feeling unable to take up flexible working opportunities.

The tenth edition of Treasury Today’s Women in Treasury Global Study once again provides an invaluable snapshot of the progress being made on the path to gender equality. Our 2022 respondents represent a range of ages, ethnicities and geographies. Over half of this year’s respondents didn’t participate in last year’s study. We had no respondents aged over 65, but most responses came from people who have worked in treasury for over ten years.

It is well reported how the pandemic has transformed attitudes to flexible working. But our survey also revealed important nuances within that transformation. Respondents revealed that flexible working is often not available to all employees, and in some cases not “widely available.” Moreover, a quarter of respondents said flexible working arrangements have not been formalised in their organisation. “Typically, men are still plagued by presenteeism,” said one respondent.

DEI progress also remains stubbornly slow in enduring areas of treasury and finance. Only 15% of respondents said their CEO is a woman and only 34% of respondents say DEI is attached to KPIs. For many respondents, pay inequality with male colleagues remains a key issue with 43% believing they are not paid the same as male colleagues at the same level of seniority – the majority of respondents reported no effort within their company to achieve pay parity. Although 44% of respondents agreed that quotas would increase female representation on boards, respondents expressed strong arguments both ways on the issue.

This year’s results identify the areas in which your companies are showing tangible improvements, especially in female representation at senior positions. Whilst there is much to applaud in the trends shown, there is also still much more to be done, particularly in the areas of representation at the board level, as well as in the areas of prejudice and discrimination. While in some cases the results paint a clear picture, in others they are much more nuanced, highlighting the complexity of the themes at play. For example, while 89% of respondents were happy with their company’s approach to diversity in the workplace, 53% felt excluded from networking events because of their gender.

Kim Hochfeld, Senior Managing Director, Global Head of Cash Business, State Street Global Advisors

Survey responses also revealed ongoing challenges around inclusion. Over 80% of respondents said they had felt ignored in the workplace because of their gender; others felt their age and ethnicity left them excluded. “My appearance does not always fit the stereotype of my role and people pass me by,” said one respondent.

Survey respondents highlighted the importance of mentoring, sponsorship and coaching. However, most respondents said that their mentor was sought by themselves. Only 35% of respondents said their mentor had been allocated by the company.

We know that moving overseas can help accelerate a career in treasury. However, perhaps in a reflection of the impact of the pandemic, this year’s study reveals that treasury professionals are moving less. The majority of those moving head to Europe, while 31% go to Asia.

Our survey also captured vital opinion from allies and male perspectives on all these key points. Revealing responses include most male ally respondents expressing opposition to quotas for female representation on boards; 75% said they had to challenge their own bias.

We hope you will find this year’s results enlightening. We believe this new approach offers a fully rounded and comprehensive look at the state of play regarding gender equality in corporations across the world.

To receive a copy of the full 2022 Women in Treasury Study please contact memberservices@treasurytoday.com

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