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Chatsworth reflects on International Women’s Day

This Sunday will mark the 109th International Women’s Day, an annual celebration of gender equality across the board, and an important discussion of the work to be done in achieving parity. As a woman working with clients in fintech, I thought I would take this opportunity to share my own thoughts and reflections on the specific challenges and successes in the sector.

Despite the huge progress we have seen since the very first International Women’s Day 109 years ago, the truth is that a fair amount of underlying, residual bias persists. For the finance sector – historically one of the most male-dominated of them all – it is particularly challenging to shift gender stereotypes.

Change is on its way, however. Fintech is the UK’s fastest growing sector and this growth has engendered discussions around the kind of talent we need to feed the industry, in order to remain competitive. We are brilliantly represented globally by Innovate Finance, led by CEO Charlotte Crosswell, who has done a fantastic job with her team to champion women in fintech.

We are now at a place where we recognise that the technology industry as a whole needs a good roster of female talent if we are to remain competitive in a digital world. I am encouraged to see this in the number of discussions, panels, and debates that call on young women to apply for jobs in tech.

From my own experience representing some of the most exciting fintech companies that are out there, I am proud to see that many of my clients have women in senior positions. More than this, many of those women are often in tech roles. R3, the global blockchain firm, has Dr. Katelyn Baker as its Principal Software Engineer. Mosaic Smart Data calls Diane Castelino its Data Science and Research Lead.  LiquidityEdge has Nichola Hunter at its helm. These examples are testament to fintech’s status as a growing sector that is fostering female talent.

On a personal level, I am lucky enough to work for a company that prides itself on gender equality and actively encourages a pipeline of female talent. Chatsworth Communications has a 50:50 gender balance and I am convinced this is absolutely crucial in creating our dynamic, talented workforce.

However, the conversation is far from over. The fact that International Women’s Day is still taking place is a testament to that. Fintech is no exception here. Across the industry, women make up just 29 per cent of the employee base and the inequality is even starker at a leadership level, with men holding 83 per cent of executive roles. Clearly, this needs to change.

The number of UK fintech firms is due to double by 2030, with thousands of new jobs set to be created across design, developing and marketing. If fintech represents the future, we need to make sure that future is equal.

Part of the problem remains the challenge of getting female students into the subjects that feed fintech. But it is changing. More female students are recognising that coding, advanced maths and computer engineering are pathways that are open to them. Today, there are dozens of organisations set up to encourage women to learn how to code. Some of our clients run these, too. There are more opportunities and networks at women’s disposal than ever.

I can’t think of a better way to close than to use a quote from Sheryl Sandberg from her book ‘Lean in’: ‘“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”

Until we get to that point, we need to keep talking.

For more information about our culture and job vacancies, check out our careers page: https://www.chatsworthcommunications.com/careers/

 

Written by Catherine Day, Account Manager at Chatsworth Communications.

Q&A session with our interns Isabel, Max and Eleanor

Isabel, Max and Eleanor joined Chatsworth as interns and progressed to take on full time roles with the company. We sat down to talk with them about their journey into Fintech PR.

Tell us your Chatsworth story so far.

Isabel: “After graduating from university, I joined Chatsworth in July 2019 as an intern with a six-month contract. In September I was then offered a permanent contract and came on full time as an Assistant Account Executive. However, 2 weeks ago I was really pleased to be promoted to Account Executive.

“Prior to joining Chatsworth, I had minimal PR and fintech experience. However, seven months in, my confidence and knowledge has hugely increased thanks to the support and training from the rest of the team.

“As my first job after uni, Chatsworth has been a great introduction to the working world where I have been challenged but with constant support. Despite being one of the junior members of the team, I am still given great client exposure and work where I feel like I am making a real contribution to the accounts.”

What is a typical working day like at Chatsworth?  

Eleanor: “I can tell you that no one day is the same. We operate a variety of tasks spread across a number of clients, so we are always kept busy. Even when clients are quiet, we come up with innovative ways for optimum exposure to their key target audience. This could include nominating clients for awards, creating press releases off the back of company announcements or creating ads to promote their products.

“My supervisor keeps me on top of things, helping to prioritise work so I never feel overwhelmed.”

What were your preconceptions of the PR industry before starting at Chatsworth and have these now changed?  

Eleanor: “On the surface, you might assume PR is easy but there is so much that goes on behind the scenes. We have to develop the appropriate strategy and key messaging for clients and communicate this effectively to the right publications.

“The important part is keeping the ball rolling. We’re always on the lookout for opportunities to share client stories, meaning we have to maintain relationships with journalists and the clients themselves. After all, it’s about building a client’s reputation over time.”

How did you find the transition from university to working life?

Max: “Working life is very different from life at university. The hours are longer than those worked by the typical student and commuting is not to everyone’s taste. Despite this, I found my transition entirely painless and, after a few weeks, I didn’t give it a second thought.

“My transition was definitely eased by the way Chatsworth enabled me to grow and learn. Instead of chucking me in at the deep end, I was pushed to progress but never really found myself out of my depth. On the rare occasions I did, there was always someone ready to help.”

What is it like to work within the fintech sector?

Max: “Fintech encompasses such a broad range of businesses, using a diverse set of technology to solve problems I never knew existed; however, you will very quickly get to grips with it.

“The sector sees some of the most interesting developments in the financial world and presents the perpetual challenge of communicating intricate details with both clarity and precision.”

Tell us about the employee culture at Chatsworth?

Isabel: “Being a company with under 20 employees, there is a great sense of teamwork at Chatsworth, where your achievements are always noticed and acknowledged. Regardless of the varying levels of authority, there is no sense of superiority and I feel like I can go to anyone in the team for advice and guidance.

“Outside of work, we are a social team and regularly go to events such as pub quizzes, crazy golf and after work drinks. During work hours, we know when to get our heads down but also when to keep things light-hearted – such as with our office bake-off.”

Find out more about internship opportunities at Chatsworth.