Knowledge Center

Women in Financial Services

A Note About Women in "Financial Services"

Because there is no single official definition of "financial services," it is impossible to answer the question, “How many women are in financial services?" with a single figure or statistic. Rather, we must look at specific occupations that fall within the field of financial services.



Women Represent Nearly Half of All Employees in the Global Financial Services Industry 

Women’s Share of Employment in Financial and Insurance Activities1

Country % 2016
Finland 58.8%
France 57.2%
Germany 50.3%
Italy 44.1%
Japan 52.2%a
Norway 48.9%
Portugal 42.0%
Spain 51.3%
Sweden 53.6%
Switzerland 41.4%
United Kingdom 43.5%

2015 data.


Women’s Representation at Leadership Levels Remains Low in the Global Financial Services Industry

The Grant Thornton International Business Report reveals that women held 18% of global CFO roles in 2014.2

  • Women held 25% of senior-management roles in the global Financial Services industry in 2014.3 

Only 4% of the 150 global financial institutions surveyed by Oliver Wyman in 2013 had women CEOs.4

In 2016, 79% of women working in hedge funds, private equity, and venture capital, investments, or private real estate funds stated that their gender made success as a fund manager more difficult.5

While Canada’s Financial Services Industry Is More Gender Diverse Than Many, Women's Representation Has Hit a Ceiling6


Canada was the third-highest ranked country for executive committee gender diversity after Norway and Sweden in 2013 but dropped to sixth in 2016 with the addition of new countries that were included in the analysis.7

  • Women held 20.8% of board seats in 2014 and 25% of executive committee seats in 2015.8  
Canada’s Financial Institutions Outpace Other Sectors

Canada’s financial institutions are leaders in advancing women to boards and championing gender diversity in general, outpacing businesses in other sectors.9

In 2014, women occupied 34.5% of senior-management positions and 50% of all middle-management positions at Canada’s six largest banks.10


Canadian Women's Employment in Financial Services, 201611

Occupation % of Women
Financial managers 57.7%
Insurance, real estate, and financial brokerage managers 42.8%
Banking, credit, and other investment managers 56.2%
Financial and investment analysts 45.0%
Securities agents, investment dealers, and brokers 31.4%


A Gender Pay Gap Remains for Canadian Women in Financial Services
  • In the Professional Occupations in Business and Finance industry classification, women’s average weekly wage in 2016 was C$1,236.94, compared to men’s average weekly wage of C$1,453.19.12

United States

The US Financial Services Industry Employs Many Women 
Women in the US Financial Services Industry, 201613
Accountants and Auditors    61.3%
Financial Managers 52.5%
Financial Analysts 36.9%






But US Women's Representation in Financial Services Senior Leadership Roles Remains Low
  • As of February 2015, there were only 58 women CFOs in Fortune 500 companies.14
Women in the US Commercial
Banking Industry, 201515
All Employees 56.7%
First/Mid-Level Officials and Managers 48.0%
Executive/Senior-Level Officials and Managers 30.8%
Women in US Funds, Trusts, and Other Financial Vehicles, 201516
All Employees 52.0%
First/Mid-Level Officials and Managers 43.7%
Executive/Senior-Level Officials and Managers 25.7%
Women in US Investment Banking
and Securities Dealing, 201517
All Employees 35.0%
First/Mid-Level Officials and Managers 31.1%
Executive/Senior-Level Officials and Managers 16.7%
Women in US Securities and Commodity Exchanges, 201518
All Employees 30.8%
First/Mid-Level Officials and Managers 27.4%
Executive/Senior-Level Officials and Managers 12.8%


Progress Is Slow for Women Managers in US Private Equity, Venture Capital, and Hedge Funds
  • Just 10% of all US fund managers were women in 2016.19 
  • According to some studies, the likelihood of women serving in fund manager roles has declined since 2008.20

A Gender Pay Gap Exists for Women Working Across All US Financial Occupations


Occupation Median Weekly Earnings in 201621
  Women Men
Financial Managers $1,157 $1,670
Financial Analysts $1,252 $1,747
Personal Financial Advisors $953 $1,714


Additional Resources

Candice Morgan, Meryle Mahrer Kaplan, and Sylvia Apostolidis, Women and Men in Canadian Capital Markets: An Action Plan for Gender Diversity (Catalyst, 2012).

Madison Sargis and Laura Pavlenko Lutton, Fund Managers by Gender: The Global Landscape (Morningstar Research, 2016).

Oliver Wyman, Women in Financial Services 2016 (2016).

Catalyst, Gender Diversity on Boards in Canada: Recommendations for Accelerating Progress, commissioned by the Government of Ontario (2016).


How to cite this product: Catalyst, Quick Take: Women in Canadian, US, and Global Financial Services (January 5, 2018).