Women in IR: Corporate finance background works better for men

Nov 08, 2018
Near-parity reached among those coming from capital markets, IR Magazine research shows

Men coming into IR from a corporate finance background are more likely than women from the same background to be paid well and more likely to be head of IR, reveals new research from IR Magazine

In fact, 70 percent of male IR practitioners from a corporate finance or treasury background earn more than $100,000, compared with just 47 percent of women from the same background. 

The study of 906 IR professionals globally also finds that 60 percent of male survey respondents coming from corporate finance or treasury backgrounds are IR heads, compared with just 34 percent of female respondents from the same background.

The research, looking at career paths into IR, finds that those coming from the capital markets get closest to gender parity

Eighty-three percent of both men and women coming from the buy side and sell side take home more than $100,000 a year. Going up a pay bracket, 36 percent of men from a capital markets background earn more than $200,000 – just 2 percentage points above the number of women from the same background.

Looking at IR seniority, a gap remains but, at only 6 percentage points, this is much smaller than among men and women coming into IR from corporate finance. Eighty-two percent of male respondents from a buy-side or sell-side background hold a head of IR position, while for women of the same background the number stands at 76 percent.

At last month’s IR Magazine Global Forum & Awards in Amsterdam, one delegate asked a careers-focused panel why IR didn’t recruit more from the buy side and sell side. The answer was simple: those with a capital markets background simply command too high a salary. But it’s clear that when those from the buy side and sell side do move into investor relations, they’re destined for the top – regardless of gender.

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