The Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) published a new research report, Women in Banking, the day before Cranfield School of Management's 2012 Female FTSE report.
ILM's research explored why there are so few women working at senior levels in banking, the challenges they face and what the banking industry can do to address the issue. The report was sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).
The research revealed that banks are unintentionally filtering out top female talent, and found that the glass ceiling in banking is actually a succession of cultural and organisational barriers.
Banking's male dominated management culture was identified as the main barrier to career progression. Other barriers included the number of men in senior roles, bank's organisational culture, a lack of flexible working opportunities and female role models.
However, enforced quotas were not popular with women or men, with just a fifth (19%) of women and 10% of men believing they needed to be introduced. The majority of women did feel that some form of positive action was needed, compared to two-thirds of men, and flexible working was identified as the number one solution.
ILM recommended a number of solutions to help tackle the lack of gender diversity in the top levels of banking. This included putting in place transparent performance management processes to encourage promotion on merit, better measurement of diversity metrics to allow banks to raise awareness of the issue and making flexible working both available and culturally accepted at all levels.
Other solutions included raising the voice and visibility of successful female leaders, and establishing and supporting programmes for sponsorship, coaching and mentoring of women.