Stereotyping is not inherently bad, but it is undoubtedly restricting. Most especially in the industry of finance and professional service where such limitations can be detrimental to one’s career. In this article, the author highlights the importance of shifting from a perspective of general categorisation to embracing – as well as protecting – diversity in the industry.
Some sectors have a popular stereotype attached to them. We identify tech start-ups with bright young millennial things. We almost certainly all have the same image in our minds when someone mentions a banker. And when it comes to finance and professional services – we probably think of people in blue suits.
Stereotypes are hard to shift. They are not necessarily negative – but often they don’t reflect the full picture, seizing instead only an aspect of the reality. For example, there are lots of millennials in start-ups, but there are also lots of people with decades of career experience. Similarly, there are a lot of people in blue suits in finance and professional services – but that isn’t the whole story.
Firstly, I want to point out that there’s nothing wrong with a suit – I defend dressing appropriately when required, and I know from personal experience how differently (rightly or wrongly) people treat you when you’re dressed ‘professionally’. That said, it’s the associations that people make between finance and suits that I want to challenge, and the idea that you can summarise a whole industry in a simple trope.
The concept of ‘suits’ is often a negative one. There are bars in London that don’t allow people wearing a suit in! There’s a popular connotation between suits and men of a certain age, certain ethnicity, and certain class. This is obviously absurdly simplistic and far from the truth, given that plenty of men (and women) of different backgrounds may wear suits for a range of reasons. But beyond that, those who wear suits and conform to certain backgrounds and cultures offer a huge amount to my sector. There are reams of talented, dedicated men of a certain age in the financial and professional services industry, doing committed and excellent work. Sometimes, they might wear suits while they do it.
About the Author
Lucy Franklin was appointed MD of Accordance at the beginning of 2019. She has a vision for Accordance which puts people at its heart – to harness its experts at every level of the business, enabling people to reach their potential, and facilitating business growth through their empowerment. With two decades of managerial experience, her strategic thinking and knowledge of the developing VAT landscape ensures that Accordance can drive greater trade, harmony and understanding across Europe.