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Only 7% of City quants are women and those women are statistically less likely to be happy than men

If you're a quant and you're a woman, the chances are that you are a) not among other women; b) not particularly content with your lot.

Research by P&D Quant recruitment, a quant recruitment firm, found that in a sample of 600 quants in London, only 43 were women.

Those women emerged as notably less pleased than men. Hence, 11% of female quants in the City said they were "very unhappy" versus 7% of men. Only 2% said they were "very happy", versus another 7% of men.

Dominic Connor, director of P&D, volunteers an opinion on women quant's sparseness and lack of contentment.

"Women are less likely to have PhDs," he informs us. "They're also less likely to have computer skills and anecdotally they're less likely to enjoy programming than men."

There are fewer female quants in London than globally (in a sample of 2,497 quants around the world, 8.3% were women). Connor postulates that this might have something to do with the lower standard of education attained by British women.

Because of this, Connor surmises that female quants are less likely to be in "better jobs" and that this might be making them comparatively sad.

"In our other studies, we've found that staff in algorithmic trading, modelling and trading roles are much happier than those in risk and that no group anywhere is as unhappy as the average person in model validation," says Connor.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • MN
    MNRC
    16 June 2015

    >>> "Women are less likely to have PhDs," he informs us. "They're also less likely to have computer skills and anecdotally they're less likely to enjoy programming than men."

    I'm so sorry to hear Dominic say this as I like reading his comments at the Wilmott forums. But comments like this from someone as prominent in the industry as he is just serves to undermine women and snuff out any young woman's aspirations to be a quant.

    I am female, a graduate student in computer science in the U.S. and I can assure you *many* women I know love programming, including myself. Dominic obviously hasn't met the legions of young women in graduate programs coming out from India and China who excel in coding and mathematics ahead of their male peers.

  • Qu
    Quantess
    12 July 2012

    If you think that you have problem with a lack of women in quantitative finance, you should come visit Copenhagen, Denmark. There are ZERO women in the heavy Quant positions at the banks. I think this per se is a big reason for women not pursuing that career path - the lack of role models and to much boys-locker-room-spirit.

    As a female PhD within quantitative finance, I must agree with @Dominic. Women are less likely to get PhD within mathematical finance, not in general but within this field, at least in Denmark. I do believe that the main reason for this is the way girls are (still today) brought up. They are told that computers and programming (and math to a minor extend) is only for nerdy boys, so it becomes abnormal for girls to even start programming - and then, how are they going to know if they enjoy it?

    quantess.net

  • ja
    janedev
    20 May 2012

    >>>"Women are less likely to have PhDs," he informs us. "They're also less likely to have computer skills and anecdotally they're less likely to enjoy programming than men."<<<

    I can't agree with this. If you look at the incoming class of the M.S. in Computer Science programs at New York University or Columbia University, around 40% are all women. Strangely, they are almost all from Asian countries like China or India. All the female students I met from the M.S. in Financial Math degree program at NYU are Asian as well. I think because of the higher standards of math in secondary schools in Asia (compared to the U.S.), there is an attitude that math is easy for students coming from Chinese or Indian universities.

  • br
    britQuant
    27 June 2011

    As a British female quant, I can say that my experience does not support what Connor is saying. It is true women make up a small minority of quants, but the women I have met do have phds and are proficient programmers who enjoy programming.
    The composition by nationality is a reflection of the fact that London is a leading financial centre which attracts some of the finest quant finance professionals in the world, to say this reflects "a lower standard of education attained by British women" is an offensive generalization.

  • Do
    Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunt
    13 June 2011

    Lilian I was of course talking about women as a subset of the population, some women are good at programming, my first programming teacher was in fact female before schools gave up teaching anything difficult in IT.

    Statistically I'm vastly more abnormal than you are.
    I'm one of those working class boys who qualified for free school meals who were vastly more likely to end up in jail than going to a decent university.
    So you like programming, good and since you've heard me speak you will know that my contempt for those who fear programming is essentially unbounded.

    As for Lilian bleating on about her primary teacher, that's pitiful. I wasn't allowed even to study some subjects because I was a working class boy.
    Also, intelligence and mathematical ability do not follow a normal distribution, it's nearer to a power law. Even though women on average score lower on both, that is irrelevant. a 6ft high women is just as tall as a 6ft man, regardless of her rarity ditto intelligence.
    Note I didn't say women weren't *as good* at programming, it may be that they are, but there are too few data points to tell, though I'm pessimistic.

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