With a myriad of women-focused values and initiatives, Fidelity Investments stands as a beacon in the financial services industry, a workforce where women are historically underrepresented.
Above-standard benefit packages, company perks, employer-employee culture and solid female representation in leadership are all representative of Fidelity’s commitment to supporting and advancing its women employees and in turn, women in the financial sector.
This is all key to the company’s work environment model motto, which states: “Invest your career in a company that will invest in you.”
Kathleen Murphy, the president of Personal Investing at Fidelity, wrote a post on LinkedIn Pulse addressing this concept, arguing that companies need to prioritize both increasing their employee talent base while also understanding what makes their customers happy.
“Today we rightly understand that to truly delight and retain your customers, you must delight and retain your employees with the same level of care, commitment, and rigor,” she writes. “And the strategies to effectively engage your customers can be applied to your people all the same.”
What attests to these stated values is Fidelity’s ability to follow through on policies and practices that benefit all employees, especially women. The company is sure to deliver on what it advocates for—more than simply slapping a promotional banner across a page on their website.
And in the financial sector, where women are vastly underrepresented both as employees and as customers, Fidelity’s initiative in tackling gender inequalities is all the more eye-catching.
Upping the standards for working parents
Fidelity’s family leave policy is a key part of its benefits package, which encourages mothers and fathers to take time off work to provide for their new child without having to worry about losing their job or their salary.
The policy applies to employees who are giving birth to a child, as well as employees adopting or fostering a new child. It includes 16 weeks of fully paid maternity leave for employees giving birth, and six weeks of fully paid parental leave for associates with a spouse/partner giving birth, or to employees adopting or fostering a child.
Fidelity’s family leave policy is well above standard, exceeding the requirement instituted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Family and Medical Leave Act, which mandates private-sector employers (with 50 or more employees) and public agencies/institutions to grant covered employees up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period.
Providing support for all women, of diverse ages and backgrounds
Fidelity’s Tumblr page is home to a smorgasbord of posts that showcase the personality of its workforce, many of which are “Day in the Life” profiles and interviews with female employees of various career levels.
Also highlighted are recaps of Fidelity-hosted events designed to address gender disparities in the financial sector. Examples include a STEM Summit, which shows young female students the career opportunities and exciting aspects of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math fields, and an annual Careers for Girls event for local female high school students at Fidelity’s Dublin and Galway offices (it was held on this year’s International Women’s Day).
Fidelity’s employee network is granted access to a suite of resource groups to help them grow both personally and professionally.
The Women’s Leadership Group holds networking events, professional development and business forums, offers mentoring and onboarding, and coordinates community outreach opportunities through partnerships with professional associations and charitable organizations. The goal of the group is to give Fidelity’s women employees an outlet to share their experiences and offer advice to one another, all vehicles that can help women achieve their goals.
Fidelity’s resource group network aims to be inclusive of women of all backgrounds. Fidelity Pride is a company-wide networking group open to all employees interested in the workplace experiences of the company’s LGBTA community. There’s also Aspire, a latino and black employee resource group that is open to all employees who support the group's vision and goals, and Asian Employee Resource Group (AERG), which aims to enhance awareness of Asian culture through events and community service opportunities that help advance the professional and personal development of its members.
Additional employee resource groups include Enable, which is focused on creating a positive and inclusive work environment for associates of all abilities, and Fidelity Veteran Employees (FiVE) is a firm-wide networking and support group for military veterans and all interested employees.
Women in leadership
We can’t help but notice that Fidelity is one of the few financial companies run by a woman, in particular, one of the most influential women in business who has received accolades like 5th place on Fortune 's 2016 Most Powerful Women list .
Certainly, some credit for Fidelity’s commitment to maintaining a positive work environment for women must go to its CEO and President Abigail Johnson. Johnson worked her way up through the ranks over 26 years before being named CEO of her family’s business in 2014. That experience working at every level of the company must have been invaluable for shaping Fidelity’s culture.
Fidelity’s place in a male-dominated industry
While women have traditionally been a minority within the financial services industry, focused efforts are underway to change this and encourage more women to consider the opportunity careers in finance have to offer.
There’s especially an underrepresentation among financial planning professions, where the number of women holding the Certified Financial Planner designation throughout the industry has remained at a flat 23 percent despite a growing number of professionals entering the profession in recent years, writes Kevin R. Keller, the CEO of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, in a report recommending ways to increase the number of women in the CFP profession.
The financial services gender gap exists at a unique time in human history.
The global workforce is seeing an ever-increasing number of women contributing to the professional landscape across almost every field, no matter how historically segmented they may be. As a result, more women are becoming financial heads of their households, and more women are building financial assets than ever before.
This presents financial services companies with a wonderful opportunity—a new market of customers, and a more enriched and diverse employee base.
However, the industry still has work to do to make it more approachable and welcoming to women. Research, including a Boston Consulting Group study, continues to find that many women are dissatisfied with how financial services companies support them.
This is cause for concern, as the need for competent and customer-minded financial advisors and consultants is an ever-increasing component to women’s daily lives.
Customers want to work with financial services providers who understand their lifestyles, needs, and goals, says the BCG study, and they need someone who will recognize and respond to those demands.
For many women, another woman on the other end of the line could do just that.
Interestingly, a 2013 study from Insured Retirement Institute reports that while women represent only 30 percent of financial advisors, they’re surely well-suited to excel in the profession.
“Women are relationship-driven, consultative, and compassionate, and they know how to connect with people,” the researchers write.
Fidelity employees weigh in
InHerSight’s own data speaks to the palpability of Fidelity’s programs and initiatives to support women employees.
The company receives 4 stars (out of 5) or above ratings for maternity and adoptive leave, wellness initiatives, paid time off, and family growth support, with female representation in leadership coming in at 3.9 stars.
One anonymous rater commented, “Fidelity Investments is awesome. It's definitely the most female friendly work environment I've ever worked in. They have everything you need and even a few things you wouldn't think about but that are definitely helpful!”
As with any company looking to attract more employees to company culture, there’s always room for expansion and improvement, but our ratings data indicate Fidelity is headed in the right direction and setting a standard in the financial services industry.
If you’re looking for a job, Fidelity is hiring financial consultants in cities throughout the U.S., from Jersey City to Austin to San Francisco. Be sure to check InHerSight’s jobs page for openings in other industries, too!
Shannon Cuthrellis a contributing writer for InHerSight, whose mission is to improve the workplace for women by measuring it. She is a freelance journalist, published author and recent graduate from Appalachian State University. For more on women in the workplace follow InHerSight onTwitterorFacebook.