Financial Industry Treats Men and Women Unequally

By Leeds Brown Law | June 21, 2017

Study Shows Financial Industry Treats Employees Differently

It is not a secret that female employees face challenges in the workplace. Some industries have deeply rooted practices of discrimination against women that have made inequalities harder to eradicate.

Consider the finance industry, jobs such as stockbrokers, analysts and advisors, in particular. Women have spent decades trying to penetrate the “boys club” that exists at many financial institutions. Even those who have “made it” face unequal pay, gender discrimination and sexual harassment. Interestingly, new research from Stanford University indicates that women in finance may also be confronted with a double standard when it comes to discipline over workplace misdeeds. The study titled “When Harry Fired Sally: The Double Standard in Punishing Misconduct” was published in March 2017 and concluded that in the financial advisory industry “[t]here are substantial differences in the punishment of misconduct among genders.”

Female Advisors More Likely to Be Fired

CBS News reported on the research, citing some statistics from the study that support its conclusion. The research revealed that “Even though men in the financial industry are more than twice as likely to engage in misconduct, women are 20 percent more likely to be fired.”

The research also found:

  • Financial firms with primarily male leaders are less likely to hire women with blemishes on their employment records
  • Those same companies are more inclined to inflict severe punishment on women who make errors
  • Male executives are more likely to overlook the misbehavior of other men
  • Women who get fired for misconduct are 30% less likely than male advisors to find new jobs

Why the Unequal Treatment?

Do female advisors receive harsher treatment than males because their misconduct costs firms more money? Is it because they are more inclined to repeatedly offend? Are the women less productive than the men and, therefore, easier to fire? According to the study’s conclusions, there is no evidence to support these “reasons” for the unequal treatment of women in finance. The researchers claim that as financial advisors relative to women, men:

  • Are three times as likely to engage in misconduct
  • Are two times as likely to be repeat offenders
  • Participate in misconduct that is 20% costlier

The researchers claim that there is no evidence that productivity is a factor in the harsher treatment of women. They argue that what drives the behavior is “taste-based” discrimination. For females, a “disproportionate share of misconduct complaints is initiated by the firm, instead of customers or regulators.” It seems that getting a job in finance may not be the biggest obstacle for women. Discrimination and gender bias may play a role throughout their careers as financial advisors.

Contact Us

If you work in the finance industry as a stockbroker, financial advisor or financial analyst and are experiencing gender discrimination, you have rights. State, Federal, and New York City laws prohibit employment discrimination, including sex discrimination, harassment and unequal pay. Leeds Brown Law, P.C., representing clients who work in various industries in the New York metropolitan area, including finance, can help if your employer is treating you differently than others. Call Leeds Brown today for a free evaluation of your employment discrimination case at 1-800-585-4658.


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