With 11 years’ experience in Executive Search within commodities trading, Chris Powell shares his thoughts on how to encourage women into the sector…. 

It is no secret that the world of commodities trading has a reputation as being very male-dominated.

So much so, that even in an industry where six-figure salaries are the norm, leading firms are launching recruitment drives to persuade female candidates to join the sector.

It shows that commodities trading is changing. Rather than images of bravado, industry is now dealing with sophisticated hedge funds, trading houses and technologies which require diversity in all areas, including gender. Market leading firms recognise that it is vital to achieve a gender balance and deliver a pipeline of male and female candidates to ensure productivity in the long term.

As a leading recruitment firm for the sector, we believe it is our role to open up the conversation and showcase women’s achievements as a first step in encouraging diversity.

We see that the commodities trading world now boasts many examples of high achieving female role models who can inspire the next generation of female entrants.

For example, Commodity Search Partners revealed how Gill Graham, at the time of writing Deputy CRO at Vattenfall, overcame a series of challenges to succeed in global leadership roles. It is hard to believe that she was once told by a male colleague that she had only succeeded because of her gender, and that he too could have fared well had he shaved his legs and worn a skirt www.commoditysp.com/iwd . But she had the last laugh, as she went on to hold senior commodities risk management roles at Scottish Power, Nuon and Vattenfall. She is currently Vice President of Operations for Vattenfall’s commodity trading business activities.

Commodities trading still comprises about 90% men but Gill’s experience proves that key to success in trading commodities is being calm, level headed, methodical and pragmatic – which apply just as much, if not more to women.

And while a clear pay divide still exists between men and women in the broader financial markets, commodities trading offers a clear way to redress the balance – financially, it’s hugely rewarding.

We believe that the first step to encouraging diversity is talking about it. What do you think?

…Are you ready to have the conversation within your commodities trading business?

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