Women less likely to be in revenue generating roles

Analysis by Central Bank says women significantly more likely to be in backroom jobs

The Central Bank is to prioritise “driving meaningful change” in the levels of diversity at senior levels in firms.

The Central Bank is to prioritise “driving meaningful change” in the levels of diversity at senior levels in firms.


The number of women who occupy client facing or revenue generating roles in the Irish financial services sector is “significantly lower” than in control functions such as compliance, risk, and audit, according to an analysis by the Central Bank.

The regulator has published an analysis of more than 3,600 applications it received in 2017 for approval to occupy senior roles within regulated firms in the Republic. The report breaks down the applications for regulatory approval by gender, age and country of origin.

It has previously produced a breakdown by gender of applications received in the period 2012 to 2016.

In the banking, credit union and asset management sectors there have been increases of between 5 and 6 per cent in the proportion of women being offered senior level roles in 2017.

However, due to a disimprovement in the securities and markets sector, which has the largest number of overall applications, there is no change from 2016 in the headline figure of 22 per cent of senior roles being filled by women.

The proportion of female applicants ranged from 19 per cent (securities and markets) to 35 per cent (credit unions).

Two out of three applications submitted were from applicants in the 35-54 age range, while three quarters were from applicants born in the Republic or the UK.

The Central Bank said the data “continues to show a pronounced gender imbalance at board level and in revenue generating roles”.

At board level, there were small increases in the number of female applicants for the most senior roles compared with previous years, but imbalances remain “a cause for serious concern”, the regulator said.

Almost a fifth of applicants for executive director roles were female, compared with 15 per cent in 2016. For chair of the board roles, 14 per cent of applicants were female, which was up slightly on 12 per cent in 2016.

Just 16 per cent of applicants for chief executive roles were female, although this was an improvement on 12 per cent in 2016.

Central Bank deputy governor with responsibility for prudential regulation Ed Sibley greater efforts needed to be made to involve women.

“I welcome that there were increases in gender diversity in the applications for senior roles in some financial services sectors in 2017,” he said. “However, this was from very low levels and major imbalances remain. Much more needs to be done.

“There is strong evidence that diversity, in all its forms, can mitigate the risk of groupthink, improve decision-making, increase the effectiveness of internal challenge and enhance the culture within firms.

“In my own experience, a lack of diversity at senior management and board level in organisations is a leading indicator of elevated behaviour and culture risks, and consequently prudential and conduct risks.

“Therefore, it is disappointing to see that there has not been an improvement in the overall proportion of women filling the most senior roles in financial firms in Ireland over the past year.”

Mr Sibley said the Central Bank would continue to prioritise “driving meaningful change” in the levels of diversity at senior levels in firms.