It is all over the web: today, March 8, it’s International Women’s Day. On this day, we celebrate the achievements of women worldwide, we create awareness and call for a gender-neutral society. A lot have been done to reach gender equality, but still, everyday women face sexism, struggle to have equal rights and recognition.
And when it comes to gender diversity, we can’t tell that the fintech industry is well positioned. In Europe, only 5% of fintech top leaders are women1. Unfortunately, fintech suffers from combining two industries, finance and tech, where women are historically underrepresented. How to change that? It will not be an easy thing, but at October, we feel that we have the power to boost and sustain diversity in our company.
#1. Women make up 36% of October’s workforce
What will October do without women? 36% of October’s employees are women. We know that we have a long way to go to achieve full equality, but still, we are proud to have reached 36%, when only 33% of fintech workforce in France are women2. Obviously, it is more difficult for some departments to recruit women than others. For example, recruiting female marketers is quite simple, whereas women coders or data scientist are really scarce.
In our Data team, Zheya, the Junior Data Scientist, plays a key role in the creation of new machine learning models to make our Company Scan module the best tool on the market.
“I chose to be a data scientist mostly because of my passion to solve problems with the power of data. Being a data scientist means constantly learning and getting out of comfort zone, and I believe this is essential in leading a fulfilling life regardless of gender.” – said Zheya “October is made up of the most inclusive, open-minded, and supportive people. Each person’s needs will be heard, and their ideas and feedback will be valued and taken seriously in October.” – she adds.
#2. +20% women on October’s workforce since 2020
Our team is growing, especially our tech team, and we do our best to recruit more women. Last year, our CTO Julien Guépin, has successfully recruited our first female coder Clarisse:
“When I look at the applications we receive for our tech positions, less than 5% are women. I think that in order to have a better chance of recruiting women for this position, it is important to show that we care about the well-being of all our employees, whether they are men or women. (…) Having a woman in the recruitment process could also be a reassuring element.”
Clarisse, newjoiner and Fullstack Developer at October, studied at École 42, a famous development school in Paris, for four years:
“Before coming to October, I worked in a small startup for one year where I was the only one doing web development. I chose October because I had a great feeling with Julien and the other people I met during my recruitment process. Throughout the process, they were caring and attentive. The team of developers is passionate, motivated and dynamic, which is exactly what I was looking for.” add Clarisse.
#3. 25% of October’s top management are women
At October, we count great women as leaders. Five women manage key departments: Christelle is the Finance Director, Marie is the Head of Institutional Investors, Camille is the Head of Customer Success, Sarah is Chief Product Officer and Claire is Lead Connect. Claire is a great example of women internal evolution at October. She started her career at October seven years ago as an intern. She gradually moved up the ladders since then and now she manages our new business Connect. Claire has overcome hurdles, bulldozing a path for the women to follow.
“It basically turns around 4 elements: operational excellence, taking risks, management support and helping other grow. Concretely it means working hard and not being reluctant to undertake very operational tasks and master them (I started as a Customer Success intern). They help build credibility and leadership internally. I have always said yes to new projects, and some of them were really out of my scope 😅 (from tech recruitment to UX consulting for a French Bank). I was perceived as a committed risk taker which is something entrepreneurs value. Our co-founders trusted me on projects even though I hadn’t the skillset yet which enabled me to lead the launch of a complete new product. Now I am confident that I can help others rise too: it’s simply a virtuous loop and that’s my motto as manager.”
Female role model
As we’ve seen, the fintech industry is lagging far behind on this issue. One of the reasons is that there is a severe lack of role models for women in finance. This makes it all the more difficult to inspire career vocations. Women can nevertheless rely on iconic figures like Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank. She is the female role model chosen by Marie, our Head of institutionals:
“For a long time, gender equality has been a non-issue in tech and finance. With Christine Lagarde, these topics are definitely on the table. She is a real inspiration for me. She has always operated in male environments. Now at the Head of the European Central Bank, she is clearly moving the lines. She has a strong opinion on the issue of quotas, which she supports 100%. She is not afraid to be a feminist for men and women and she made me realize that in order to change things, you really have to commit yourself without trying to get everyone to like you.”
Becaming a sustainable company
To move the lines like Christine, this year at October, we take actions to improve our diversity. And diversity, especially gender equality, is actually a big part of the “S” of ESG performance (Environmental Social and Governance), one of our main 2022 OKR (Objective Key Results).
We start by making our recruitment more inclusive. Here is a non exhaustive list of best practices that we apply at October and that we recommend to all companies:
- We include at least one woman in the recruitment process (usually 3 interviews)
- We put forward female top management profiles
- We create inclusive job offers: inclusive formulation (with adjectives that speak to men and women)
- Our HR management is trained to recruit without discriminating
- We have implemented the egapro index, that measures gender pay gaps in a transparent way in France.
Don’t hesitate to share your ideas with us on Twitter and Linkedin on how to reach gender equality at October. #OctoberWomenDay
🤩 Golden team!
Let’s take advantage of our focus on women today to talk about a cause that October supports. Like every year, October is one of the sponsors of the Triathlon des Roses, a French competition to support breast cancer research. What’s new this year is that in addition to the company race (where we came 4th last year!), October is also competing in the challenge for the biggest fundraiser. The corporate team that raises the most money for the research will have the opportunity to wear gold t-shirts during the race! All the money raised will go to fund breast cancer research. The collection is opening today, so help us support this worthy cause and bring some gold to October: donate to the research.