Women in Retirement Industry Face Dual Pressure

Respondents to WIPN study reported employer support and flexible schedules available for caregivers, but three in 10 women said caregiving responsibilities still negatively affected their career opportunities.

Three in 10 women in the retirement industry said their caregiving role has negatively affected their career opportunities, according to nonprofit WIPN (which stands for We Inspire. Promote. Network).

Just 4% of women said their caregiving role positively affected their career opportunities. Slightly less than two-thirds of women, 61%, said they were glad that they stayed in the workforce when they became a caregiver.

WIPN’s latest research report, “How The ‘Do-it-All’ Culture is Affecting Women in the Retirement Industry,” surveyed 163 WIPN members serving in retirement-focused financial services, including some who are caregivers.

“Our proprietary research supports WIPN’s mission of advancing equity and opportunity for women in the retirement industry,” said Jen Mulrooney, WIPN’s president and a vice president at American Century Investments, in a statement. “We hope our findings can further a dialogue as the caregiving generations show lower satisfaction levels. Many women perceive setbacks and obstacles arising from their dual pressures to succeed both at work and at home and to ‘do-it- all.’” 

On the topic of pay and compensation, 71% of respondents said their workplace was not transparent or only somewhat transparent. Only 28% said salary equity studies were conducted in their organization.

More than a quarter, 28%, of WIPN respondents considered but did not take on sales roles. Some women steered away from sales because they found the job incompatible with family demands.

“Sales does offer better pay than a service-related role, the ability to interact with clients and attend industry events to build my brand, and the ability to influence the trajectory of the business,” said one WIPN member, age 38, quoted in the report. “But the drawbacks are many hours away from home/family, plus mostly male colleagues and superiors.”

A positive data point is that nearly all (94%) of women felt their employers were extremely or somewhat supportive of caregivers in general. Furthermore, seven in 10 said they had autonomy over how they spend their day, including remote work or flexible hours to accommodate their caregiving responsibilities.

Mulrooney stated that despite some positive responses, there are still ways employers can improve their support of female employees in the retirement industry.

“A few areas where the retirement industry can improve for women is that companies can re-evaluate parental leave policies, consider caregiver support groups at work, and do more to recruit women in sales roles,” she said.

WIPN’s research partner, Escalent, conducted the survey in January, with the support of sponsors Fidelity Investments and OneDigital.