Women in finance | The challenge: not to lose your personal life

There are more and more women in finance, but there is still a way to go in certain types of positions. Jobs which are not always easily compatible with family and personal life. Overview.

Very busy periods before completing a transaction, very early lunches with clients, frequent evening events: the work of Andréanne Simard, director, national accounts group, large companies, at the National Bank, is far from being 8 to 5.

“I do financing for large companies not listed on the stock exchange,” she explains. The relationship with customers is super important, so you definitely have to invest time in it. But I chose this job because I need this challenge. I could choose a less demanding position. »

Moreover, when Andréanne arrived on her team six years ago, she was the only woman, if we exclude supporting roles. Now there are four of them. “There has been a lot of progress,” rejoices the woman who is pregnant with her second child.

Balancing work and family life is still a challenge.

“Fortunately, my partner is very involved,” she says. Our schedules change every week, so we play Tetris with our calendars. It’s also difficult because our families are not in the area, so we don’t have help. »

Andréanne Simard, member of the board of directors of the Association of Women in Finance of Quebec (AFFQ), however appreciates the great flexibility of her employer.

“The possibility of teleworking makes a big difference, even if it is very important to me to still be present in the office and with clients, to meet people,” she says.

Leaving early to pick up your child from daycare or being absent because he or she is sick is not a problem either.

With a baby, I have to adapt my schedule. I feel great understanding from my bosses who have young children themselves. They know that I will take back my time in the evenings and weekends. Family or not, the work remains the same and you have to continue to perform. It’s more my personal time that is affected… I don’t have any anymore!

Andréanne Simard, director, national accounts group, large companies, National Bank

The importance of quality of life

Not all women want to live with this pressure. Tania Saba, professor and researcher at the School of Industrial Relations at the University of Montreal and holder of the BMO Chair in Diversity and Governance, noted this in a study she has just carried out for the AFFQ.


Tania Saba, professor and researcher at the School of Industrial Relations at the University of Montreal and holder of the BMO Chair in Diversity and Governance

“The results demonstrate that the idea that women do not want to move up the ladder is a myth,” she says. They have as much ambition as men. »

On the other hand, they do not want to lose their quality of life. “Women continue to do more domestic chores than men, so balancing work and family is more difficult for them,” notes Tania Saba. They will not accept a position if it does not allow them to maintain a quality of life. As long as we don’t give them support, it will be a hindrance to their career advancement. »

Lucie Pellerin, president and CEO of the high-level headhunting firm Talinko, sees employers offering all kinds of measures to facilitate conciliation.

“Some offer a concierge service, including the possibility of having their groceries delivered,” explains the woman who also sits on the AFFQ board of directors. Others offer a cafeteria service and the possibility of training at or near the office to promote face-to-face and team spirit. These measures also help to alleviate mental overload. »

Help to climb the ladder

While parity remains difficult to achieve, especially in the upper echelons of finance organizations, initiatives are being put in place to promote the career progression of women.

Some companies have specific measures to develop the full potential of women. We also see coaching for women executives, to help them better manage pressure so that they are more efficient and happier in their position. It also often means learning to say no. Women often want to do everything, but it’s not possible.

Lucie Pellerin, president and CEO of the headhunting firm Talinko

Tania Saba saw in the results of her study that measures to facilitate the career progression of women are helpful. “Employers must both make clear the prerequisites for access to management positions and provide the necessary support to those who express interest in being promoted,” she says. She adds that we must also ensure that the requirements for promotions are fair. “A person who has taken parental leave twice will not have the same linear path as someone who has not taken any,” she explains. Forming a diverse committee to allocate promotions greatly helps to see inequities. »

Gala Les Talenteuses

For his 19the edition, the Association of Women in Finance of Quebec is holding its annual gala under the theme “Les Talenteuses celebrates the avant-garde”. The event will be held on May 9 at the Palais des congrès de Montréal.

View the list of awards, finalists and winners

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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