How Barclays is promoting gender diversity on the trading floor
Less than 20% of roles in Sales and Trading are filled by women in the industry. In the first in a series on women in Markets, we hear from three Investment Bank colleagues about how they have built successful careers in Markets.
Four years ago, Barclays became one of the first signatories to the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter – a public pledge to bolster gender balance across financial services. Since then, the bank has built on its work to achieve greater gender diversity in the workforce and has been named in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women for eight consecutive years.
One area of the bank where gender diversity is a key priority is Markets, the division of the bank which provides institutional investor clients access to execution and risk management solutions across major asset classes.
Gender diversity in the Markets business is super important. We’ve come a long way but there’s still a long way to go
Emerging Markets Credit Trader at Barclays Investment Bank
Despite the bank’s efforts to attract more women into careers on the trading floor, misconceptions about who can be a trader, a structurer or a salesperson remain, leading to the underrepresentation of women in the industry. Research last year found that less than 20% of those approved for trading roles by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority in 2018 were female.
In this series that will run over the next few weeks, we explore how women have navigated the ranks and developed great careers at Barclays, and in Markets at Barclays.
“I can do that too”
Kiran Irshad, Emerging Markets Credit Trader at Barclays Investment Bank, says: “People often ask me, ‘Why do you think there are so few women in trading?’”. For Kiran, one answer lies in the misconceptions about who belongs on the trading floor.
She credits part of her success to Barclays’ mentoring initiatives, which connected her with senior women in the business and made her think, ‘I can do that too’.
“Gender diversity in the Markets business is super important,” she says. “We’ve come a long way but there’s still a long way to go. Studies have proven that with greater diversity, your performance is better as a team – so it makes business sense too.”
I’ve seen first-hand the benefits of being a woman on the trading floor. Being able to empathise, listen, collaborate and build consensus – all of that can be really beneficial
Director, FX Sales at Barclays Investment Bank
Lucinda Lawrence joined Barclays as an intern in 2008 and is now a Director in the Markets team. She says characteristics that are sometimes seen as ‘feminine’ do have a place in the industry. “I’ve seen first-hand the benefits of being a woman on the trading floor. Being able to empathise, listen, collaborate and build consensus – all of that can be really beneficial, and arguably more so as you rise through the ranks.”
As one of the more senior women on the trading floor, she feels it’s her duty to mentor younger women starting careers in the field. “This comes with a lot of responsibility on my part, but it’s something I really enjoy. It brings out the human aspect of my job.”
We are looking at Markets-wide gender and diversity issues, and taking action
Head of Emerging Markets Sales and Origination, EMEA and Americas and Chairman of Middle East North Africa at Barclays Investment Bank
Esra Turk, Head of Emerging Markets Sales and Origination, EMEA and Americas and Chairman of Middle East North Africa at Barclays Investment Bank, has had an impressive career in financial services and is Executive Sponsor of Barclays’ Win network and Diversity Champion for the Markets business.
She says the bank is taking a proactive approach in terms of gender diversity in sales and trading: “We are looking at Markets-wide gender and diversity issues, and taking action. We’re thinking about how we can move the needle, whether it’s tactical, strategic or more structural.
“It’s incredibly important to have diversity of thought and an inclusive culture where we are able to challenge one another.”