Last week before presenting a workshop at Trinity College Dublin, I was scanning career magazines aimed at soon-to-be graduates. I came across some statistics that were both encouraging and dispiriting all at once. An article called "Women are the Business" in the graduate magazine TargetJobs reported that while there are fewer female applicants for highly paid graduate level business and IT roles, a disproportionate number of women receive actual job offers when they do apply. For example, at the finance house – Fidelity International, only 26% of total applications in 2006 were from female graduates though these same women went on to win 40% of the jobs on offer.
In the eyes of Fidelity, the few women who do apply are clearly of higher calibre than many of their male counterparts – especially as the company does not utilise any kind of quote system and say they are always just looking to employ the best people for their jobs. Are women ruling themselves out before they have even applied? Do they consider finance and IT a risky option? Do they not consider banking fulfilling – or to have a "feel good" factor? I personally don’t buy the idea that women aren’t interested in finance. My clients in law and science often say they like the intellectual challenge and fast pace – the same type of atmosphere that a job in finance or IT can provide. So let me know what you think- where are the graduate women?