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Human resources leaders within the financial services sector seem to be optimistic about improving gender diversity in industry workplaces. Despite years of warnings and reassurances regarding women at work, it seems that the UK’s gender pay gap reporting has finally provided a much-needed catalyst for change. At the risk of facing a public backlash, companies are finally facing up to their responsibilities and changing their ways.

Managing Director of Oak Management AS Joey Horn has extensive experience in the financial sector and an ongoing interest in supporting women in the industry. Her success is testament to her own abilities but also a reminder that women can achieve high-level positions in finance. The financial services industry initially attracts more women than men but many of these women leave the sector while still at middle management level. This means that the majority of the top-level jobs go to men. An annual poll by the Financial Times reports that men continue to outnumber women in senior positions at a ratio of almost 3:1.

The FT approached 70 companies worldwide and the 48 who supplied data employ 3.5 million people. These firms provided information on women employed in senior roles. 39 companies, employing 3 million staff, supplied data on mid-level positions filled by women. Women were employed in 27.2% of top jobs and 43% of mid-level positions; only marginal annual increases.

However, senior executives insist that 2017 should be viewed as a watershed year. Having intensified their efforts towards gender equality, company bosses argue that results will be seen in the coming years. As a result of the UK’s gender pay gap reporting, women in the City have now got proof that they were earning less than their male counterparts. These long-awaited figures have given tangible evidence of the pay gap and companies can now more easily instigate their own targets to remedy gender inequality.

The #metoo movement has undoubtedly influenced publicity surrounding the gender pay gap. Proven allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace peaked public interest in issues of gender equality. Hopefully the years of good intentions will finally lead to real progress for women in finance.