City Guy - The Square Mile is Changing and the Women are Coming

The City is changing and so should you if you want to stay competitive and ahead of the game. The change is happening in many industries not exclusive to the City. We no longer see shirtless builders with their arses hanging out, fag in mouth wolf whistling at woman walking by. Nor do we see the barbaric and ruthless trading floors of the 80’s and 90’s. I have seen this happen more and more over the last 10 years. A shift has taken place and it’s moving in all directions. 

Sport is no exception. Take snooker for example. You no longer see players drinking a whiskey and coke, puffing on a cigarette. Darts players are not the overweight beer guzzling players of the Eric Bristowe era. It doesn't stop there either, we’re now seeing golfers who have six packs and rugby players that look more like bodybuilders. 

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The landscape is changing and so should you if you want to remain competitive

The new breed of corporate thirtysomethings is fast becoming filled with extremely capable, highly motivated and competent women. Many are now becoming favored over their less capable and more expectant male counterparts. Whereas it was believed that you had to be this aggressive Alpha Male who lead with an iron fist in order to run a successful company. We have now come to realise that being adaptable and flexible is what’s needed to grow a profitable company in this modern era. Unfortunately, as much as it pains me to say it, women adapt far quicker than us men.

A friend of mine was recently overlooked for a promotion at work. Because of his background and connections, it was expected to land in his lap. However, on this occasion the board chose to promote a female counterpart who they obviously felt could handle a storm better in rough winds. I met her once at an event and she had an amazing presence about her. Having had the chance to talk to her later in the evening, I was left with no doubt in my mind I would have voted for her if I was on the board. My friend openly admitted he wasn't the best person for the job, but the City has always had a way of looking after its own, at least it used to. 

Have we seen the demise of the "old boys club"

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I can recall a conversation I had with a woman who worked for a well known Japanese trading firm back in 2003. She was the only woman working in a team of twelve guys. Most lunchtimes they would all head out to eat or go to the pub minus her. On the odd occasion, she would tag along but was made to feel like she was intruding.  Nowadays it’s quite the opposite. There are meetups and networking events exclusive to women, female entrepreneur clubs, and business boot camps where being female is a prerequisite. But the reality is we’ve had our own clubs, meetups and social gatherings much like these seemingly sexist events, we just never advertised them in such a way. They were commonly referred to as the “old boys club” with a wink and a smile. 

How times have a changed. 

Emotional, unpredictable, and less capable were just some of the words that used to be bounded around to describe women working in the City back in the late 90’s. Funny to think that some women today would use those very words to describe certain male colleagues. 

So where does that leave us, men? I’d say in a position to reflect, take stock and adapt. As with most things in life, if we fail to adapt we are destined for failure. Acknowledge and embrace change and grow with it. In most cases, change happens for a reason. Don't become one of those old guys bitching to anyone who will listen about the “good old days” Times change, industries change and so should you if you want to stay on top of your game.

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