Is "gender" impacting shared services careers?

More recently, the issue has come under the spotlight, spurred on by the exposure of shameful practices and pay inequality that are snowballing across the global business landscape. “Gender,” in other words, has been given a much-needed shot in the arm. And although in truth, in corporate speak we are talking about "diversity" and "inclusion" – reaching across age, nationality, education, linguistic ability, etc. – starting with gender, more specifically women, makes sense.

Anecdotally, SSON events around the world show a high attendance rate for women, and indeed, at this year's Shared Services and Outsourcing Week, we are seeing more women than ever presenting their case studies and experience, up on the stage. But total evidence doesn't mean much. SSON Analytics, the data division of SSON, recently delved into the actual numbers of shared services roles and found the following gender breakdown across jobs in shared services:

Source: Analysis of LinkedIn Shared Services roles; by SSON Analytics

What they also found was that in North America, although 50% of shared services directors are women, at the level of "head" and "chief" the ratio drops off dramatically.

Within the financial services segment specifically, nearly 3/4 of female respondents confirmed their organization had more men than women in senior leadership positions, whereby skill gaps was not tagged as a relevant reason. 

On the contrary, internal politics [the "old boy network"] was most commonly put forward as a cause, along with the perception that women might be “less assertive in promoting themselves and their accomplishments”.

While many organizations are today setting up inclusion councils and initiatives to promote women's careers across the workplace, there is no avoiding the fact that women will have to do much of the groundwork themselves. According to SSON Analytics, just over a third of female shared services executives within finance presented themselves as "eagerly looking forward to competition and feeling confident in their ability.”

Shared services and outsourcing week Europe is pushing the gender issue to the forefront, and SSON recently posted a report on "diversity" online.

Find out more: "Women in Financial Services: Challenges and Stress Management”

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