Two-thirds of female, high-level executives on Wall Street are where they want to be in their careers, according to a recent survey conducted at the RegentAtlantic Wall Street Women Forum held in New York City.

But that number declined from 74 percent two years ago. More than 100 women who attended the invitation-only event were included in the survey, similar to the number who participated in past years, according to RegentAtlantic.

Women seem to be taking stock of where they are and where they want to go, says Jane Newton, managing partner and wealth advisor at RegentAtlantic in Morristown, N.J., and founder of the RegentAtlantic Wall Street Women Forum, which is in its eighth year. The women who are invited to attend are mostly managing directors of large Wall Street firms with 15 to 20 years of experience.  

“I hear a lot of optimism from women,” says Newton. “However, the survey showed that one-third of the women are unhappy with where they are in their careers.”

Fewer women (31 percent) feel there are opportunities for them to move to the top in the financial industry than three years ago (58 percent).

“A lot has changed since 2010 when we started the Wall Street Women Forum,” Newton explains. “We have seen a lot of consolidation and disruption in the industry. Women in particular have been impacted by the visible departures of several of the most senior-level women in the industry, making them question what that may mean for their own success.

“In addition, the hiring needs of Wall Street firms have shifted. We’ve seen, for example, that technology and regulatory expertise is in high demand.”  

The women respondents pointed to a lack of assistance in advancing their careers. Fifty-nine percent say not having a sponsor or not having the right sponsor is the main obstacle in their career paths. 

“A sponsor is someone who advocates on your behalf, often when you’re not in the room as decisions are being made. Women are increasingly working to develop relationships with those who are or could be their sponsors,” Newton says.

When asked to identify their primary career goal, two-thirds indicated they want to stay relevant and continue to climb the ladder. 

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