Just 21% of employees put forward for senior roles at U.K. financial services firms were women, finds a review of applications for the year ended March 31.
Law firm Pinsent Masons analyzed hiring patterns at money management firms, hedge funds, private equity funds, insurers and banks, covering 4,044 hires for which gender was specified. The review found that 833 of those taking up senior roles at financial services firms were women. Gender was not specified in 6.8% of applications analyzed.
Pinsent Masons carried out a similar review last year, finding that 26% of individuals put forward for senior roles were women. However, a news release said the data were not directly comparable because the March 2020 figures cover a wider range of businesses.
"More and more financial services firms are taking steps to improve gender diversity at top levels, but the pace of change is still very slow," said Elizabeth Budd, partner at Pinsent Masons, in the news release. "Given the attention that gender diversity has been given in recent years, I expect many firms will be disappointed that this is not being reflected in the number of women put forward for senior roles."
The firm cited reasons for the low proportion of women being promoted, including flexible hours or home-working requests due to child-care needs.
However, Ms. Budd highlighted that the coronavirus pandemic, which has "upended working practices, organizational and operational structures," may make employers in London more receptive to flexible working requests.
Pinsent Masons did not break down the data by type of financial services firm, a spokesman said.