Diversity Management: Turn Women's Financial Concerns Into Measurable Gains

Why should building relationships with women clients be one of your business’ top priorities A new study from Prudential Financial indicates that financial-services companies that provide adequate support for female clientsand take cultural influences into accountstand to gain valuable market share.


Prudential Financial’s 20122013 “Financial Experience & Behaviors Among Women” report found that women today make up a majority of primary household earners (53 percent), but only 23 percent report self-confidence in making key financial decisions. Only 10 percent of women referred to themselves as “very knowledgeable” about the financial products and services available to them. (Prudential Financial is No. 9 in the 2012DiversityInc Top 50.)

This means new growth opportunities for those financial-services companiesparticularly those companies that leverage resource groupsthat are attentive not only to women’s needs but their culturally influenced concerns.

Understanding Women’s Cultural Influencers

Differences in women’s financial experiences and behaviors varied greatly among the different ethnic groups. This indicates that racial/cultural influences play a key role in determining how women approach financial security and planning, explained a panel of economic experts at Prudential Financial’s event in New York. Prudential’s Joan Cleveland, senior vice president of Business Development, participated as a panelist. Watch Prudential’s video highlights from the event.

The study found:

  • Asian (33 percent) and Black (31 percent) married women were their household’s highest income earners, compared with only 19 percent of white women.White women were the least likely to be employed full time (33 percent) and were likely to be married (65 percent)
  • Latinas, who were most likely to have children (65 percent), were more inclined to put immediate family needs ahead of their own financial stability and planning: 92 percent of Latinas prioritized “not becoming a financial burden to loved ones,” and 73 percent said taking care of extended family was a main concern
  • Black women, who were most likely to be single (40 percent) and employed full time (47 percent), prioritized being able to maintain their current lifestyle (94 percent). They were also most concerned with reducing personal debt (87 percent) and starting a small business (49 percent)
  • Asian women were the most likely to use a financial professional (47 percent) and tended to place more emphasis on financial security. They had the highest median income ($77,000 vs. $51,000 average) and savings ($58,600 vs. $12,400 average), and 28 percent of live upscale lifestyles
  • About one-third of white women had an adviser (36 percent), but 26 percent were most likely to delegate financial decisions to their partner. Having enough money to maintain their lifestyle (93 percent) topped their financial concerns

Resource Groups Provide Solutions

“Women’s lack of confidence is increasing, which we can see as a knowledge gap as well,” explains panelist Deborah Owens, CEO of Owens Media Group and an author, noting that market volatility has increased women’s overall tendency toward risk aversion.

The solutionand likewise the opportunitythen falls to companies “to educate women on financial matters and help them build confidence,” Owens says. It also helps to close the disconnect between immediate concerns and the right choices.

Strengthening the quality of the company-client relationship also should be a concern, say the panelists, as 35 percent of women reported they would leave their adviser if their relationship with their spouse were to end.

“These relationships still are very superficial,” says Cleveland. “Companies need to do more to know women’s needs. Advisers need to speak to women, really advise the women when they speak to the couple.”

DiversityInc Top 50 companies, especially those in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Executive Women list, know that best practices in diversity management, such as resource groups, can help their organization increase their understanding of the marketplaceand ultimately deliver sustainable business results.

Read these DiversityInc articles for more on how to improve your businessand your ability to attract women customers and employeesthrough diversity management:

Diversity Web Seminar on Resource Groups: Connect With Customers for Top Sales Results

DiversityInc Innovation Fest!: Resource Groups Saved This Pharmaceutical Giant Millions

How Kraft Increased Promotions of Women in Sales by 39%

How ‘Slut’ and ‘Sweetie’ Challenge Gender Equity

Women’s History Month Facts

Latest News

WNBA players

WNBA Outperforms All Other Athletic Leagues on Diverse and Inclusive Hiring Practices

The WNBA is continuing its winning streak, outperforming all other major athletics groups when it comes to racial and gender hiring practices. Brooke Migdon of The Hill reported that “the Women’s National Basketball Association this week earned a nearly perfect score for race- and gender-inclusive hiring in 2021, according to…

Three BASF Women Leaders Honored at the Manufacturing Institute’s 2021 STEP Ahead Awards

Originally published at basf.com. BASF ranked No. 12 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Three BASF leaders in manufacturing were among 130 women recognized nationally at The Manufacturing Institute’s ninth annual STEP Ahead Awards. Focusing on science, technology, engineering and production (STEP), the program recognizes women…

Wells Fargo Pledges $1 Million to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund for HBCU Seniors

Originally published at newsroom.wf.com. Wells Fargo ranked No. 25 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Wells Fargo and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) are teaming up to help close the graduation gap for college seniors attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The $1 million Thurgood Marshall…

Hershey Employees and Retirees in the US and Canada Pledged More Than $900,000 in 2021 To Support Nonprofit Organizations

Originally published on LinkedIn. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    Each year, our Season of Giving campaign encourages Hershey employees to make a difference by supporting nonprofit organizations which they find to be meaningful. Employees and retirees in…

Creating Windows and Mirrors: Hershey’s Amber Murayi on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the ‘World’s Top Female-Friendly Company’

Amber Murayi is the Hershey Company’s Senior Director of Enterprise Strategy & Business Model Innovation & Co-lead of the Women’s Business Resource Group. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    My position affords me a unique view of DEI…

Author Alice Sebold

Author Alice Sebold Apologizes for Her Role in the Wrongful Conviction of the Black Man Charged With Raping Her

In her acclaimed 1999 memoir Lucky, author Alice Sebold told the story of being raped in 1981 when she was a student at Syracuse University. The case resulted in a Black man named Anthony Broadwater being convicted and sent to prison. Sadly, Broadwater was innocent and wrongfully convicted — and…