Tag Archives: Edward Jones

87665813

Study: Most Agree ‘Glass Ceiling’ Exists

According to a survey conducted by financial services firm Edward Jones, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Americans believe women in the workforce today face a barrier to career advancement with one in five (22 percent) citing the financial industry as the hardest glass ceiling for women to break through.  The firm has been working to increase the percentage of female financial advisors in its branch offices and erase that perception.

“The lack of women in leadership positions, particularly on Wall Street, has been well documented in the news media, but at Edward Jones, a female financial advisor enjoys the same opportunity as her male counterparts,” said Elizabeth Schehl, Director of Financial Advisor Diversity and Female Performance at Edward Jones. “There is no glass ceiling and the benefits of running your own branch office makes the Edward Jones model particularly attractive to women.”

The survey of 1,010 Americans underscored that women represent an attractive applicant pool with 67 percent of respondents – men and women alike – citing that women are the more ambitious of the two sexes when it comes to acquiring leadership positions in the workplace.  When asked the top factor impeding these ambitious women from advancing, a male-dominated environment was cited by 83 percent of respondents. Other factors contributing to the glass ceiling include:

* The juggle of family and corporate responsibilities (73 percent)
* Inadequate policies for women in the workplace, such as stringent maternity leave policies (62 percent)
* Lack of adequate mentoring or a defined career path in reaching the executive board level (56 percent)

When asked which part of a career is most important to them beyond compensation, nearly half (49 percent) of women cited an entrepreneurial work environment. “One of the main things that attracted me to Edward Jones when I first began as a financial advisor was the entrepreneurial environment where I was given the freedom to thrive as if I was my own boss.  I quickly learned that the only barriers I had were those that I put in place for myself,” Schehl added.

Edward Jones’ unique branch office system provides financial advisors with the autonomy to run their own business with the infrastructure and support of a resource-rich organization.  Currently, Edward Jones has more than 12,500 entrepreneurs operating branches across the country.

Among its programs promoting diversity, Edward Jones’ Women’s Initiative for New Growth Strategies (WINGS), is a network of female advisors that volunteers their time to recruit, mentor and support other female advisors. Since WINGS was introduced five years ago, the firm has seen a steady uptick in women joining the company, who now make up one-quarter of all financial advisor recruits.

Along with financial services (67 percent), additional industries that are perceived as being more challenging for women to succeed in include professional services (69 percent) and technology (64 percent).  Media and publishing was less restrictive to women at 41 percent, and healthcare (23 percent) and education (14 percent) were perceived as the least challenging.  Survey results also showed that older respondents were more likely to agree that a glass ceiling exists than younger respondents indicating a positive change in perception among younger generations. Of respondents between the ages of 55-64, 71 percent cited that a glass ceiling exists as well as 70 percent of respondents over 65, compared to 60 percent of those surveyed between the ages of 18 and 34.

87665813

Study: Most Agree 'Glass Ceiling' Exists

According to a survey conducted by financial services firm Edward Jones, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Americans believe women in the workforce today face a barrier to career advancement with one in five (22 percent) citing the financial industry as the hardest glass ceiling for women to break through.  The firm has been working to increase the percentage of female financial advisors in its branch offices and erase that perception.

“The lack of women in leadership positions, particularly on Wall Street, has been well documented in the news media, but at Edward Jones, a female financial advisor enjoys the same opportunity as her male counterparts,” said Elizabeth Schehl, Director of Financial Advisor Diversity and Female Performance at Edward Jones. “There is no glass ceiling and the benefits of running your own branch office makes the Edward Jones model particularly attractive to women.”

The survey of 1,010 Americans underscored that women represent an attractive applicant pool with 67 percent of respondents – men and women alike – citing that women are the more ambitious of the two sexes when it comes to acquiring leadership positions in the workplace.  When asked the top factor impeding these ambitious women from advancing, a male-dominated environment was cited by 83 percent of respondents. Other factors contributing to the glass ceiling include:

* The juggle of family and corporate responsibilities (73 percent)
* Inadequate policies for women in the workplace, such as stringent maternity leave policies (62 percent)
* Lack of adequate mentoring or a defined career path in reaching the executive board level (56 percent)

When asked which part of a career is most important to them beyond compensation, nearly half (49 percent) of women cited an entrepreneurial work environment. “One of the main things that attracted me to Edward Jones when I first began as a financial advisor was the entrepreneurial environment where I was given the freedom to thrive as if I was my own boss.  I quickly learned that the only barriers I had were those that I put in place for myself,” Schehl added.

Edward Jones’ unique branch office system provides financial advisors with the autonomy to run their own business with the infrastructure and support of a resource-rich organization.  Currently, Edward Jones has more than 12,500 entrepreneurs operating branches across the country.

Among its programs promoting diversity, Edward Jones’ Women’s Initiative for New Growth Strategies (WINGS), is a network of female advisors that volunteers their time to recruit, mentor and support other female advisors. Since WINGS was introduced five years ago, the firm has seen a steady uptick in women joining the company, who now make up one-quarter of all financial advisor recruits.

Along with financial services (67 percent), additional industries that are perceived as being more challenging for women to succeed in include professional services (69 percent) and technology (64 percent).  Media and publishing was less restrictive to women at 41 percent, and healthcare (23 percent) and education (14 percent) were perceived as the least challenging.  Survey results also showed that older respondents were more likely to agree that a glass ceiling exists than younger respondents indicating a positive change in perception among younger generations. Of respondents between the ages of 55-64, 71 percent cited that a glass ceiling exists as well as 70 percent of respondents over 65, compared to 60 percent of those surveyed between the ages of 18 and 34.

customer.service

ASU Center becomes a resource to teach service

Customer service was once viewed as the cost of doing business.

“Across almost every industry, leaders are focusing on service as a way to compete in today’s competitive marketplace,” says Mary Jo Bitner, academic director for the Center for Services Leadership at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business.

But times have changed. Companies that are in search of new revenue streams are finding that in addition to providing great customer service, offering value-added services to their product lines are helping their bottom lines. And the help them make the most of the opportunities, many are seeking help from the ASU Center, which focuses on research and executive education in managing and marketing services.

“Customer demand and the competitive challenges posed by the commoditization of many products has pushed many goods-based companies to take another look at services as a source of revenue and profit,” says Stephen Brown, director of the Center for Services Leadership, who has spent the past 20 years tracking the growing importance of services as a product. “Many are following market leaders to become goods-and-services companies.”

For example, Boeing has broadened its offerings by adding the lucrative market of services to its aircraft manufacturing. The Hewlett Packard and Compaq merger created a new company whose major product is services. IBM’s impressive financials over the past decade — in shining contrast to its competitors — were largely the result of its service businesses.

“In 2001, we were launching our first fee-based service business,” says Steve Church, president of Avnet Integrated and chief corporate business development and planning officer. “We wanted to offer more services and solutions. We knew a lot, but there was a lot we didn’t know.”

Church says Avnet’s membership in the center — which concentrates on expanding service innovation by combining the latest scientific insights from the academic world with the best of business strategy in the real world — allowed the company to “build a culture of service excellence that focuses on the customer and gives each a great customer experience.”

The Center, which was created in 1985, remains the only one of its kind in the United States, devoted to research and education in the services field.  Its research findings form the foundation of the Center’s executive education program, attended by managers and executives of leading firms.  Member companies include AT&T, Charles Schwab and Co., Ford Motor Company, IBM, Mayo Clinic and others, who sponsor research, fund scholarships, host MBA student teams and participate in executive education.

Many member companies sponsor research that is published in academic journals, and shared at the Center’s executive education forums. Bitner, for example, has been studying the effects of self-service technologies (SST), working with Ford and a major pharmaceutical benefits management company.

“The Center is really a tremendous resource for any company that has a strategy to to improve customer serve or add services to augment its products,” Church says. “We learned that by getting our employees engaged in customer service, we built customer loyalty, it helped us compete, and it enhanced our financial performance.”