Considering a career as a trader but worried about its male-dominated reputation? The good news is that a positive shift is happening. At OSTC, we’re driving the change with ambitious targets and an approach that makes a career in trading accessible, open and fair.
When you picture a trader, you probably see a man in a pin-striped suit. But as the diversity and inclusion discussion rightly gets louder, the tanker is turning. As you might expect from a company founded on the idea of democratising trading, OSTC is playing a big part in this change. We firmly believe there should be more woman in the sector. Diverse companies perform better and operate more safely and as a global company with a belief that diversity improves thinking, we are proud of our meritocratic approach and focus on ability alone.
Willingness to bring women onto the trading floor is not enough: companies must take proactive steps to encourage a more gender diverse industry. Part of that can be done by avoiding stereotyping and bringing focus to bear on what makes a great trader or market analyst. Our approach and products were created to help define and develop the things that make great traders, regardless of background or gender.
This guide will outline key factors to consider for women in finance careers and those looking to enter the field. You will also find information on how OSTC is working to boost diversity in finance. We’ll examine:
- The gender pay gap
- Challenges and barriers for female traders and analysts
- What we’re doing about it
- How we help female traders and market analysts find their edge at OSTC
- Interview with Faizah Tahir: Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Well-being
- Interviews with female traders and market analysts at OSTC
What Does Being A Trader or Market Analyst Involve?
A trader operates in financial markets by buying and selling stocks and assets with the aim of making regular gains. A market analyst will thoroughly examine key sources of information and numerical data and recommend trading strategies to try and maximise profit.
If you have focus, passion and drive, nothing should stop you enjoying one of the most exciting jobs in the world. At OSTC, we value the right attitude over all else and of course, that includes gender. If you show an aptitude for factors such as problem solving and have interest in financial markets, we can help unlock your full potential. Trading is a challenging and fast-paced job. We also take pride in recruiting and mentoring candidates who show great resilience.
Mind the Pay Gap
In the UK, it’s mandatory for private and public organisations with 250 employees or more to publish an annual report on their gender pay gap, highlighting the differences between men and women’s earnings in the workplace. Companies with fewer employees can also voluntarily publish these reports.
These gender pay gap reports also highlight the difference in the number of men in specific roles compared to women or vice versa in the workforce. In the financial industry, more men hold senior positions than women.
In order to tackle issues of unfair pay, the Equality Act 2010 in the UK made it compulsory for all employees to ensure that men and women in the same employment and who are performing equal work receive equal rewards. This equal pay legislation applies to all companies across the UK, not just to a market analyst salary, for example.
Whilst progress is being made, the gender pay gap means there’s still work to be done. However, many investment firms state they are working towards diversity in the workplace and advancing women in the sector, a fact supported by the 330 financial UK organisations who have joined the government’s Women in Finance Charter.
It’s also encouraging to see more female leaders breaking through in financial industries. When looking at future opportunities and future employers, it’s a good idea to visit the organisation’s website to determine their stance on gender diversity. You can also explore the steps they are taking to implement change for women entrepreneurs.
The Importance Of Equal Pay At OSTC
At OSTC, we do not differentiate. Everyone earns the same base pay compensation, with the same exact opportunity to earn a bonus depending on the work you complete. With serious focus and drive, it’s not impossible to earn a bonus in your first year as a Junior Trader or Junior Market Analyst.
As you learn to become practised and cultivated in your career, you’ll find the same opportunities to push your skills and rewards as anyone. At OSTC Markets, we are committed to equal pay: we see all our market analysts and traders as individuals.
Trading Isn’t For Everyone
The trader and market analysis professions offer significant rewards for success, but there are challenges to consider too. Trading is associated with things that test mental resilience and requires you to juggle your professional and family life.
While these are not barriers for everyone, research on the topic will identify key considerations when taking your trading or market analysis career to the next level.
Working in the finance industry is a rewarding and fulfilling career, but as an industry that is traditionally male-heavy, you might worry about discriminatory behaviour. At OSTC, we never stand for this in any form. From initial application to the induction process and beyond, every one of our candidates and employees are treated equally.
While we only hire full-time positions, our innovative ZISHI Cornerstone training enables us to deliver a world-class programme to support your career from the get-go. As you learn the skills you need to become successful, and understand the latest industry trends, there is also an emphasis on maintaining balance to ensure you can productively manage your work life effectively.
What We’re Doing To Improve Diversity and Inclusion In Finance
Whether you’re a professional woman thinking about a career in trading or market analysis, or are already working in the financial sector, equal opportunities and pay are aspects to consider.
Improving diversity in finance and encouraging more women in the workplace ensures that companies are forward-thinking and intuitive. We strongly believe that focus groups consisting of diverse teams improve the quality of decision making, and financial service firms are committed to transforming the sector.
To promote further diversity in the world of trading, we are specifically focused on a drive to recruit more women traders. In 2019, 26.2% of all hires across the company were female, with an increase of nearly 10% in the trading business. This is a good start, but there is more to come.
We know that this shift towards more equal representation in trading and market analysis takes time but to ensure we’re at the forefront of this positive change, we are improving gender diversity through initiatives to support with education and remove barriers. This includes:
- Unconscious bias training
- Inclusive recruitment training
- Diversity and Inclusion foundation workshop
- A large investment in employee wellbeing initiatives; training and support, including training mental health first aiders and partnering with a city mental health alliance.
We are also looking at opportunities that the recent COVID-19 pandemic has presented to increase remote working, offer more flexible working patterns and improve our rewards and benefits package to support women.
How Female Traders and Market Analysts Can Find Their Edge At OSTC
At OSTC, we focus on training and growing individuals from a variety of demographics and backgrounds regardless of their gender, expertise, or trading knowledge. It’s all about discovering your talent and difference.
Successful traders have a wide ranging skill-set allowing them to navigate the global markets. Our application process uses ZISHI Adaptive’s Personality and Cognitive Technology to help identify candidates who are statistically more likely to succeed in the role. The process also involves looking for candidates who are competent in the following areas;
- Numerical reasoning skills
- Decision making under pressure
- Problem solving
Alongside these skills, we also encourage people with the following attributes to apply:
- A passion for markets
- Motivation to succeed
- Entrepreneurial attitude
- Adaptability and resilience
Our training courses and the open-to-all platform doesn’t discriminate. We have developed a sophisticated system that is industry-recognised to ensure candidates fulfil their potential and gain that all-important career edge.
How Do We Support Our Female Traders and Market Analysts At Ostc?
At OSTC, we have developed a range of techniques to help female leaders master trading and find their edge.
Mentoring and Coaching By The Experts
Mentoring provides a unique insight into the trading world and market trends. It’s not enough to just learn the ropes – mentoring lets you immerse yourself into the workings and intuition and show you how to make the right judgements in an instant. Our mentors have a wealth of market intelligence and experience in financial services that spans international markets. You will also have the opportunity to learn technical analysis from professionals.
Trading Courses, Certification and Immersive Workshops
Our industry-recognised learning platform offers a selection of specialised courses that help you gain relevant skills and qualifications. Not only do our certificates and diplomas provide you with a working knowledge of trading, they also include a range of transferable skills to progress your career. You can fit learning in around your current commitments too – the duration of our courses range from 4 days to 5 weeks.
Learning to trade with us is an immersive experience thanks to our workshops. These deepen your understanding of the commodity and derivatives markets while participating in simulations that give you a feel for the real environment. Combining this with our mentorship and diploma studies means you can upskill quickly and competently to progress your career.
Our unique specialist course and mentorship programmes give us a resounding edge to hire the best women into the business.
Interview With OSTC’s Head Of Diversity, Inclusion and Well-Being
To find out more about a career in trading, we chat with Faizah Tahir, our Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Well-being, and find out her perspective on being a female within this industry. Plus, she shares her insights on improving the current approach to diversifying OSTC talent.
What is OSTC’s Outlook On Bringing Diversity Into This Market?
F: OSTC is at the outer frontier of change. We have embraced it and are focusing on the future, reinventing ourselves to become trailblazers and influencing the sector positively.
In 10-15 years, we want to be in a position where we have the best and brightest talent working for us. OSTC as an organisation will have the responsibility of creating the right culture and environment to nurture talent, offering them the space to be their true selves in an inclusive space in order to retain and grow them within the company.
Now, in this instance, the creed, gender or race of those individuals with the future talent and skills we require then becomes irrelevant as they will all be valuable employees who will be treated fairly and equitably. What matters is what they can do. It’s just good economics that any business would be foolish to disregard.
What’s Your Advice For Female Traders Wanting To Find Their Edge But Too Afraid To Begin Their Careers?
F: There are opportunities here for you and you can have a thriving, successful career. No one is born with talent for trading: it is taught and until you give it a shot, you might never know. Talent, potential and skill are not attributes solely limited to one gender. All we have to do is try and push ourselves, and inspire each other.
The hardest bit is taking that first step, so I would advise you to make a leap of faith. Success comes with bravery, risk and having the courage to defy your insecurities. We all suffer from them; the trick is not letting them control and paralyse you.
Interview With Female Traders and Market Analysts At OSTC
At OSTC, we are dedicated to creating a diverse talent pool of traders and market analysts. To gain an insight into a career with us, we spoke to some of our female traders/market analysts to discuss their experiences and advice.
What Influenced You To Pursue A Career In The Financial Sector?
Feng Mao: One of my relatives was in the financial sector, and after I first got into it, I found it charming and challenging.
Valeriia Kukushkina: My university professors – old Russian traders who were successful in trading, at work, in science and taught at university for pleasure.
Elena Bragina: Firstly, I was fascinated with the idea of the merit-based and opportunity-filled market. I was positive about me finding my own place in trading. Secondly, I think trading is the most promising place to someone who cares about a good income.
Tatiana Kuzmenkova: My friend influenced me to get into trading. I heard a lot about it and at some point, I decided to open an account on Moscow Stock Exchange in 2013 when I studied at university.
Aditi Agarwal: When I was in graduate school, I was attracted to the commodities market, especially gold. I was a keen observer in the early days and soon started market analysis in the yellow metal. That kick-started my interest and I realised my passion for the markets.
What Would You Say Are The Biggest Obstacles Or Challenges Within The Financial Sector/For Market Analysts?
FM: Working in the financial sector requires you to be learning all the time. Market analysis can be frustrating, consistent introspection and self-adjustment allow you to do it well.
VK: Managing work-life balance; and changing trading ways as required by market conditions.
EB: As for a Junior Trader, the primary challenge is learning how to take money from the market on a regular basis and taking appropriate risks.
TK: It is easy to enter into this activity but not so easy to achieve stable results and avoid big losses. The emotional side of trading is a big obstacle. You must keep your emotions under control to prevent professional burnout.
AA: Flexibility and emotional discipline. There is always a constant battle between you and the markets and there has never been a time when an analyst is able to control the markets, so the only element you can change is yourself. I believe it is extremely important for an analyst to remain flexible and nimble and be prepared to change with the markets.
What Kinds Of Opportunities Would You Like To See Available In The Financial Sector For Female Employees?
FM: I think we don’t need any special treatment. I think the equal right to pursue success is good enough.
EB: It would be great to have special meetings, discussions and study materials that took into account learnings about the female trading psychology.
TK: A few extra vacation days every month.
AA: Traditionally, female roles have been concentrated around financial analysis, research and operations. Across the broader financial services industry as well as our company, we do not see a lot of female managerial positions in market analysis, so perhaps that is where I would like to see opportunities becoming available.
How Do You Maintain Your Lifestyle Around Your Working Hours?
FM: Before work in the morning, I spare time to work out, recharge or cook.
VK: Usually I try to find silence and peace outside of working hours: I have my little garden, read literature, share my thoughts on Instagram or as essays, talk to my family and drive my car. Every few months, I engage in some cool or extreme activity – last time, I tried kayaking.
EB: The current working hours suit me well: for example, morning is the perfect time for taking a stroll in almost empty parks. Also, there is never a crowd in the shopping malls.
TK: A change in your working activity is as good as a rest. I maintain a comfortable lifestyle but there is always something to strive for. Outside my work, I do sports and hobbies.
What Would You Tell Women Looking To Start Out On Their Financial Career/Market Analyst Journey?
FM: Market analysis is fun and challenging: some people may like it very much. My coworkers are cool and really nice, and it is a relaxing office environment.
VK: First, know yourself: emotions can be crucial to your career (they can easily fire you up or can help you better understand markets) and you must understand that your first one or even two years will be fully devoted to work.
Second, try to invest your own money and read fundamental literature. Thirdly, apply for work at OSTC!
EB: Believe in yourself and have precise motivation.
TK: There are no secret tactics. But follow my advice: it’s not so easy, be hardworking, don’t lose your determination, and keep in mind that trading is a very good start for you.
AA: I believe that a market analyst role is very challenging yet very rewarding. If you are passionate about the markets and are prepared to stay emotionally strong, then this could be an opportunity for you.