Finance has traditionally been a male-dominated field, but that's changing in the United States. As of 2021, McKinsey & Company reports women make up about 52% of the financial workforce in the U.S.
According to the report, the numbers of women at the C-suite level have increased by 50% since 2018.
However, some cities are friendlier to women in the financial industry than others, according to a survey by Moneyzine.
Number one on the list, Columbus sits on the banks of the Chattahoochee River and is home to Columbus Air Force Base and Fort Moore. The city has a diverse population, and 65.5% of its finance roles are held by women. These women also earn an average of 26.1% more than men. Women are paid an average of $47,680 after housing costs.
The Killeen-Temple metropolitan area spans three counties in Texas and takes second place in the survey. Women make up about 59.4% of the financial sector and earn 11.6% more than men, on average. Their annual income is $51,274.
Asheville, N.C., ranks third on this list. It is a popular site for its active arts community and location in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Women occupy about 64.1% of the finance jobs in this city and make $47,142 each year, on average.
Flint comes in fourth on the survey, with women making up about 57.8% of finance roles in the city and outnumbering men by 9.4%.
Tuscaloosa is home to the University of Alabama, which has a student body of about 32,000. Women in finance roles earn an average of $47,333 after housing costs. About 62.7% of the finance roles in the city are occupied by women. The survey also showed finance roles in Tuscaloosa have increased by about 25%, creating even more opportunities.
More of the Top 10
Des Moines, Iowa, places sixth on the survey and is the only Midwestern city in the top 10. Women in finance jobs in Des Moines make an average of $51,506. It's 11% less than men make in these roles, but it's a smaller gender gap than in other cities.
The seventh spot goes to Salem, Oregon. According to the survey, finance-related jobs have risen by 31% since 2020. That's good news for the city's economy. About 62% of all finance-related jobs are occupied by women.
Santa Clara County, Calif., is in eighth place on this list. Women in finance earn an average of $68,557 after housing costs. They also make up 56.5% of the finance roles in the area.
Spokane, Wash., has experienced a 14.5% growth in finance jobs since 2020. Women make an average of $46,758. It's also considered one of the best places to live in the state.
Another city in North Carolina, Winston-Salem, rounds out the top 10. There's been a 21.9% increase in finance roles in the last three years. Women in finance earn about $51,424 after housing costs.
Women in finance earn the most in Bridgeport, Conn., where they make about $76,154 after factoring in housing costs. Chico, Calif., has the nation's highest number of women in finance roles. They account for about 72.8% of finance jobs in the city.
The Dark Side
If Columbus, Ga., tops the list, which city is the worst for women in financial roles? That dubious honor goes to Fort Collins, Colo.
Although U.S. News and World Report ranked the city as one of the best places to live, it scored low on almost all metrics concerning women. Women in Fort Collins earn 46.9% less than men and only make about $25,882 after housing costs.
The finance role news isn't as good for women in C-suite positions. The McKinsey report indicates that 64% of financial-services C-suite executives are men, and 23% are women. Both of these groups are White. Only 9% of C-suite positions are held by men of color, with 4% held by women of color.
This doesn't surprise Marjolein Dilven with the financial blog Radical FIRE. She says, “I've worked in finance for the last 5 years, and what I found is that it's still a traditional boys club.”
The McKinsey survey also indicated women are better at supporting their teams than men. According to the report, “Financial-services employees with women managers are 50 percent more likely to say their manager provided emotional support and 25 percent more likely to report that their manager has helped them navigate work–life challenges.”
Dilven agrees. “I firmly believe that having more women in finance benefits the entire field. The diversity in perspective ensures well-rounded decision-making and more balanced risk management, where the companies benefit from higher profits. By attracting more women to finance, the talent pool that the industry can choose from increases, which is very attractive for companies that are always looking to hire high-performing finance professionals.
According to Moneyzine, having women in C-suite finance roles also tends to make them more profitable.