Women in Finance: Q&A with Charlotte Nicol

Posted on:
March 6, 2023
Posted by:
Bluestone Mortgages

This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is Embrace Equity. We’re proud to have such strong women in all roles here at Bluestone. To celebrate this, we’ve interviewed a number of women in varying roles, starting with Charlotte Nicol.

Charlotte is a Management Accountant and has been with Bluestone for four years. She is AAT qualified and is currently working on her CIMA qualification.  She has been in the finance industry for roughly nine years. Outside of the office Charlotte loves fitness and is a long marathon runner.

We asked Charlotte…

What led you to a career in financial services?

I never planned a career in FS but I have always been interested in economics and politics, and I fell into finance as it offered the opportunity to study and gain valuable experience at the same time. I enjoy working in financial services as it is one of the major industries in the UK and it is really interesting to understand the economy through the way it directly impacts the business.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced in your financial services career?

The volatility of the industry over the last few years has definitely been the biggest challenge. Professionally, there was a sharp increase in workload as a lot more analysis and reporting was required. The uncertainty also made budgeting and forecasting very tricky. 

What is the best advice you’ve received in your career?

I think the best advice which I apply to both my career and my personal life is to not compare yourself to others. It is easy to think you should be at a certain stage by a certain point, but I try to not live that way and just go at a pace which feels right for me. 

The gender pay gap in finance is the second worst after the construction industry. What can organisations do to address this? 

I think there should be more transparency around salaries to ensure equal pay. Increased reporting in organisations around average male vs female wages within similar roles/ in departments would highlight the gap and make employees more aware of the disparity. Women should also feel more empowered to ask for pay rises. It is well documented that men are more likely to ask for pay rises and therefore increase their chances of getting one. This is heavily reliant on the culture of an organisation. The management should be diverse and well trained to ensure that women feel heard and able to ask for a pay rise. Salaries should also always be quoted on new roles as this again adds transparency to recruitment.

Who is an inspiration to you? 

I think the people who have inspired me the most are the friends I have made during my career so far. Particularly those that I have met at Bluestone- they have always offered so much advice and support, and I have loved working with them. In general I am inspired by people who lift others up and want others to succeed, which is something I try to live by. Someone in the public eye who I take inspiration from is Deborah Frances – White. She uses humour to engage people of all ages on social and political issues. She is a big advocate for diversity and inclusion and the power people have collectively to effect change. 

This year’s IWD theme is Embrace Equity- what do you think can be done to embrace equity for women in the Financial industry? 

We need to recognise and celebrate the differences between men and women/ non binary people. Assuming everyone has the same basic needs as a default, is a key issue which is why I think the concept of embracing equity is a great one for this year’s IWD. We need to change the narrative and start viewing employees on a case by case basis with the view of ‘what does this person need in order to be successful.’ We have seen time and time again that when a person is valued and feels respected this directly correlates to their output in the workplace. Things like flexible benefits where employees can choose the benefits which are most important to them are a great starting points, as people are then rewarded in a way that suits their needs best- such as private healthcare or extra holiday days. Most importantly I think there is still a lack of representation and we need to encourage healthy conversations.

Support us

This year, in honour of IWD, we’re supporting Smart Works. A charity that provides both interview training and clothing to help low-income women in the U.K get jobs and gain financial independence. By harnessing the power of clothes and coaching, the charity aims to build confidence for job success. You can help us reach our target by donating here.

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