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2022 Carson Group State of Women in Wealth Management Report Reveals Top Barriers to Women Joining & Staying in the Industry

Posted on November 10, 2022

Carson Group revealed the results of its first-ever State of Women in Wealth Management Report during Excell REPRESENT. The research study looked at the experiences and perceptions of both women and men on the opportunities and challenges faced by female advisors in the financial services industry.

Currently women make up more than half of the U.S. population, but less than a quarter of financial advisors are women, which has remained largely flat for the last 10 years, according to the CFP Board. The 2022 State of Women in Wealth Management Report found there are several areas firms can focus on to improve representation.

Barriers to Success  

Female advisors face many of the same challenges as their male counterparts – growing a book of business, operational efficiency and dealing with clients’ emotional responses to the market. However, the majority (88%) of survey respondents indicated that women have additional barriers that men are less likely to deal with.

  • 73% Balancing professional role with caregiving obligations
  • 70% Difficulties finding a firm that is a culture fit
  • 57% Difficulty finding a mentor
  • 34% Challenges in prospecting for new clients
  • 25% Other

Perhaps more concerning is that nearly half (47%) of “other” write-in responses indicated that gender-based discrimination in the workplace is still a significant barrier for success in wealth management.

“If we want to see meaningful change in representation in the industry, we need to start solving for these barriers, “said Julie Ragatz, Ph.D. Vice President, Next Gen and Advisor Development Programs at Carson Group and co-author of the 2022 State of Women in Wealth Management Report. “We focus much of our energy on the recruitment of women, which is important too. But none of these barriers keep women out of the industry. They keep them from staying.”

Impact of Gender Biases

Only 13% of female advisors believe that clients rarely take gender into account when selecting a financial advisor compared to 26% of male advisors. This has a direct impact on a woman’s ability to grow her book of business.

In addition, 54% of female respondents strongly disagreed or disagreed with the statement, that financial advisors rarely take gender into account when seeking partners for joint work. Noting that in their experience, gender does play a negative role in receiving offers for joint work from other advisors, hindering long-term advancement.

“While there has been some movement in representation, which is good news, there’s obviously more to be done,” said Mary Kate Gulick, Chief Marketing Officer, Carson Group. “We hope that the insights from the study will inspire problem-solving conversations and solutions we can start putting into action fast. There’s been a lot of talk on this in the last 20 years, but little intentional action.”

To view the full 2022 State of Women in Wealth Management report, visit https://carsongroup.com/women-in-wealth-report.

Survey Methodology

The 2022 Women in Wealth Management Report findings are based on a survey of 335 financial advice professionals, 78.61% female and 21.39% male. This study is a combination of a quantitative survey with some open-ended feedback questions and a series of qualitative interviews. The survey sample was developed via self-selection through organic social media posts, email marketing, and digital ads targeted specifically to financial advice professionals. Survey responses were collected using Survey Monkey. Data regression analysis was performed by Michael Norton, PhD. The interviewees were volunteers from the survey sample. Interviews were conducted, coded and analyzed by Melinda Hubbard, DBA, MBA.

As an incentive for participation in the study, Carson donated to Rock the Street Wall Street, a financial and investment literacy program designed to bring both gender and racial equity to the financial markets and spark the interest of high school girls in finance careers. For each survey participant, Carson donated $5. For each interview participant, Carson donated $30. Carson then matched the funds for a total donation of $5,000 for a scholarship at Rock the Street Wall Street.