Canada is a unique country – geographically, culturally and financially. But the payments landscape in this region has similar diversity challenges as those around the world. How can we open up this growth industry to appeal to everyone, and encourage the next generation of female professionals to adjust their career trajectory and capitalize on these opportunities?

First we need to better understand the challenges.

Canada is not alone in the barriers to women in payments, and the wider workforce. We see  a general issue with flexible working arrangements, childcare obstacles and work/life balance across the industry.

Thankfully, great expectations are on the horizon.

The payments industry in general is making progress. Within J.P. Morgan, our business resource network provides a really important platform for advocacy and support. As we look across the Canadian payment networks today and movement at the senior leadership level, we see women. Visa, Mastercard and American Express are all led by women. Platforms such as Women in Payments allow greater visibility and recognition within this industry to highlight and promote the breadth of opportunity. 

For young women at the start of their careers, the payments industry offers a wide range of professional career options: financial, client facing, product design and architecture, technology, and much more. However, regardless of what stage you’re at in your career, focusing on your developing, learnings and overall trajectory is important.

It’s crucial in any area to stay relevant, but this market in particular is evolving at a phenomenal pace and to be successful you need to constantly learn from what you are seeing both locally and abroad.

What you need for a career in payments

  1. Get the skills. While women were not historically involved in STEM subjects from early education levels, that is definitely changing. Encourage your daughters, support your nieces. They are the future leaders of the industry, and that skillset will be invaluable in the workplace of tomorrow.
  2. Get the abilities. Emotional social intelligence is key to all business. Critical thinking and an eye for innovation is not specific to any gender but having that aptitude can get you the exposure you need to progress in payments.
  3. Communicate. You can never overemphasise the importance of communication. Make sure your voice is heard: the way you articulate and share information is key to any role, but in a complex world like payments it is especially important.
  4. Do your research. In Canada, we often see change coming from Europe, Asia and then the US as a fast follow; if you can stay abreast of trends and truly understand your industry you will already be ahead of the pack. This global mindset is what sets you apart.
  5. Build a global network, and use it. What periodicals should I be reading? Who are the key players? Start making connections, even if its just on social media. Organisations such as Women in Payments exist for this very reason – let’s support each other, build each other up and bolster the whole industry as a result.

We all encounter challenges, but it’s how we navigate those and how we treat people around us that matters. Women of our generation take inspiration from powerful women – not necessarily in title, but in how they influence and effect change. In the next generation, we can see the resilience and innovation, the building blocks that it takes to step into the president’s office. We are motivated every day by these women, and inspired by their determination.

The payments industry will be a better place because of all of us. But to get there, you’ve got to see us.

Marilu Gaudio and Shauna Archibald presented at the next Women In Payments Canada symposium (20-21 September 2022). Congratulations to Winnie Muchuba who won the 2022 Women in Payments Canada Symposium Social Impact Award at the same event.

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