The Key to Success

By Ayo Mseka

According to nearly 80 percent of the female financial advisors who attended the 2016 Edward Jones Women's Conference, confidence is among the biggest factors impacting leadership, success and fulfilment in a career.  Half of those surveyed also said that confidence is the single most important tool in career advancement.

The women surveyed are among the 170 most successful Edward Jones female advisors invited to a conference that featured an address and Q&A session with Claire Shipman, senior national correspondent for ABC's "Good Morning America," and author of The Confidence Code.

"Confidence in one's ability to succeed plays a critical role when it comes to career success," said Katherine Mauzy, principal of Financial Advisor Talent Acquisition at Edward Jones. "One of the main topics Claire Shipman discussed during the conference was that while the shortage of female confidence relative to male confidence remains prevalent in today's workforce, evidence shows that confidence can be acquired. It was fascinating to learn more about the importance of confidence and what the industry can do to ensure female advisors feel confidence in their career role at the 2016 Women's Conference."

Twenty-five percent of the attendees said that having a mentor/sponsor is the most important tool to advance one's career, 15 percent credit hard work/accomplishment, having a professional network (9 percent) and having an advanced degree (1 percent).

Twenty-five percent of participants said that having a mentor/sponsor is the most critical for advancing one's career.
Age plays a factor in these womens' views on the importance of confidence. Sixty-six percent of those over age 64+ say confidence is the most empowering tool for career advancement, compared to roughly half of those ages 45-63 and 29-44. All women in the youngest group, ages 18-28, instead choose mentorship/sponsorship.

In recent years, many studies have pointed to the disparity in confidence among men and women. For example, in 2011, the Institute of Leadership and Management surveyed British managers about how confident they feel in their professions. Half of the female respondents reported self-doubt about their job performance, compared with fewer than one-third of male respondents.

This relative lack of confidence has caused some women to decline career-advancement opportunities and delay their promotions, as noted within Edward Jones' survey. Of those who admitted to declining a career advancement opportunity due to a lack of confidence, 44 percent say that it took longer for them to get promoted.

Barriers to female advancement
The survey also reveals inconsistencies in views on female representation and advancement opportunities in financial services. While 85 percent of individuals agree or strongly agree that strides have been made to advance women in their careers, 77 percent also agree or strongly agree that barriers to career advancement continue exist for women in the field, suggesting a continued industry challenge.  

"The financial services industry as a whole has been working to increase female representation, however a lot more can be done to ensure that women are backed with the tools and resources to promote and instill confidence," added Katherine. "As a firm, we are taking steps to enable and support our female financial advisors through dedicated training programs and women's networks. We hope to host even more women at next year's Women's Conference – supporting the future leaders of our organization and the industry."

Women currently represent 19 percent of the firm's 14,500 financial advisors, relative to just 14 percent of female financial advisors in the industry, according to data from Cerulli Associates.

Edward Jones provides financial services for individual investors in the United States and, through its affiliate, in Canada. The firm is headquartered in St. Louis and its website is located at
  • Posted April 11, 2017 IN