"I don't understand why we have to have 100-hour weeks or why finance is structured that way," says Professor Renee Adams from the UNSW Business School. She has tried to identify some of the factors that contribute to the huge gender gap in finance.

Only 10 per cent of key leadership positions of CEO, chief investment officer, and chief financial officer in the sector are held by women.

According to the research, female members at the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute are less tradition and conformity oriented and more achievement oriented than both male members and women in the general population.

This suggests that gender-specific barriers discourage women from entering the profession and one possible factor is the long hours that are demanded and rewarded in many of these jobs.

"It turns out to be a profession where there are long hours and it's not clear why that is necessary," says Adams.

"Women are more likely to work less for less pay in the sector, and one reason is combining work and family. Men are much more likely to have a non-working spouse. So that's a challenge that is about the structure of the job."

"You have to be a certain type in the profession," notes Adams. "People in finance tend to have very specific values which differ from other people in professions. They are very achievement oriented and if on average women are less achievement oriented then we don't fit the type in the profession."

Other research also shows that finance professionals are much more likely to say competitiveness is important than the general population, says Adams.

"They also do think people should stand on their own feet and markets are efficient. It's not surprising," she adds.

For further comment call Renee Adams on 02 9385 4280 or Email renee.adams@unsw.edu.au 

Further details of the research: https://www.businessthink.unsw.edu.au/pages/room-at-the-top-why-are-there-so-few-women-in-leading-financial-roles.aspx

 Media contact: Julian Lorkin: 02 9385 9887