Few women consider becoming a financial planner because, in part, they consider the job stressful and uninteresting, and feel they would have a problem recruiting clients, according to a new study by the Insured Retirement Institute.
But employers could help women overcome their fears about the planning profession by highlighting aspects of the job that they can relate to, such as the job's heavy reliance on relationships and its suitability for people who want to be self-employed, according to IRI.
“Firms are well advised to review their recruitment practices and workplace policies to attract more women into the financial advisor profession,” IRI states.
The study, entitled Women and Financial Advising Careers: Perspectives and Priorities, surveyed 603 college-educated women between the ages of 25 and 49.
Women make up only about 30 percent of the financial planning professionals in the U.S. This is despite the fact that, as of 2009, 8 million businesses in the U.S. were majority-owned by women and women controlled two-thirds of U.S. consumer spending.
The financial planning profession is expected to expand by 32 percent by 2020, more than twice as fast as other professions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Noting that 70 percent of women would prefer to work with a woman advisor, IRI says, “The need and the opportunity are present to recruit more women in the financial advising profession.”
Only 13 percent of women were familiar with the financial advising profession and only 10 percent had considered it as a profession, according to the IRI study. In explaining why they did not consider financial planning as a career, 40 percent of women said they didn't consider the job interesting, 10 percent said they are not good with numbers and 7 percent cited a lack of training.
In addition, 45 percent said they would have a problem developing clients on their own and 48 percent considered the job stressful.
But IRI noted there are aspects of the financial planning profession that should resonate with women. For example, women consider high salaries an important component of a job and financial planners can make up to $350,000 a year. The job's median income is more than than $60,000.
Recruiting efforts should focus on the fact that financial planning is based on relationships, since women are relationship-oriented, IRI advised. The idea that many financial advisors are self-employed also appealed to women.