The UK financial services sector is facing a gender diversity gap as only one in five contractors in the industry are women, according to professional services consultancy Procorre.
The firm, which analysed data from the official research body of the European Commission Eurostat, found just 19% of UK contractors in the sector are women.
The number is below the Western European average, where women make up almost a quarter (23%) of contractors in the financial services sector.
Both Spain (33%) and Italy (25%) have higher proportions of female contractors than the UK.
“Contracting is becoming the career of choice for many professionals throughout Europe, as it offers an attractive combination of high salaries, greater flexibility and improved work-life balance,” said Lisa Mangan, relationship manager at Procorre.
“Given the benefits, consultancy should be as desirable for women as it is for men.
“However, in the UK financial services sector, there are some perceived practical barriers that may put women off from these very lucrative roles.”
Procorre said some women may be worried by the prospect of going it alone in an industry where there is still a perception “that the old boys’ network still dominates”.
Procorre explained that a drop in income during maternity leave may also cause women to consider their options before working as a contractor.