Tuesday 27th October 2020

The pandemic has accelerated changes in the workplace and to the customer experience that were already happening. Day 3 of the Summit looked at the likely impact on women at work and as customers of financial services.

To what extent these trends aid or limit getting to 50:50 female representation in the workforce was discussed with Angela Berg of Mercer, who laid out the trends and projections based on Mercer’s latest When Women Thrive research, noting that while “81% of companies surveyed have gender as a priority, just 39% have a documented strategy around that”. Detailing how to design and implement a gender diversity and inclusion strategy is exactly what the Alliance’s How-To-Guide for Becoming the Employer of Choice for Women, published on Day 3 lays out. With contribution from 15 Alliance members and supported by Mercer as our Knowledge Partner and by CDC as a financial sponsor, this Guide marks a step-up in our service offer in the diversity & inclusion area, so critical to being successful in women’s markets.   

Four members who contributed their know-how to the Guide discussed their thoughts on the implications of the pandemic during the subsequent panel on the Future of Work For Women.These FSPs laid out how they have ramped up support to employees in the new normal, with a general consensus that they believe the pandemic will be a net gain for women in the workplace as the paradigm shifts to meet them where they are. “Flexibility will give women more edge in the workplace. It is not ‘I am going to work’ it is ‘I am doing work.’ This is changing how we are looking at [work] and how we are measuring it,” said Daniel Sharaiha of Bank al Etihad.

Just as the FSPs are figuring out how to help their employees adapt, they are learning how to serve their customers in adapted ways, too. The Client of Tomorrow panel shed light on how diverse players are modifying their customer journeys to changing times. PayGo offers a great example of combining technology with touch;  AXA shared new ways to support customers with protection products; and Mastercard spoke to the huge shift to contactless that started by a concern around hygiene, but has pushed forward their work on increasing self-service through the customer journey. As Donald Chesnut of Mastercard noted, “COVID-19 has not affected men and women equally. 23% report spending more time in domestic tasks versus 11% for men.” And so, all of these firms are working on creating convenient and flexible options that women can access during their increasingly busy lives.

The winners of the Alliance’s annual Championing The Female Economy Awards were announced with winners sharing their thoughts, and while not the same atmosphere as an in-person ceremony, it was exciting and many congratulations to the winners.  

Ann Cairns closed out the summit by noting that we at the Alliance have not just rebranded, but we have expanded across segments and interest areas—including D&I, fintech, and much more. Her ask (and ours) to all of our fantastic members and the many who tuned into the summit this year is: help us grow our membership so we can reach many more women with the value proposition they need to succeed. We need your advocacy even more in the new normal.