Today, consumer finance surveys indicate that 65 percent of Americans have little or no savings1, and 40 percent wouldn’t be able to cover a $400 emergency2. Voya and our nonprofit partner, WiSE, offer tips. 

We face headwinds in recruiting senior women due to the disproportionate representation of females in the industry at managerial and senior levels. Additionally, disproportionate representation of minorities characterizes the industry. We've got a plan.

In our 2017/18 Corporate Responsibility Annual Report, we detailed the following two key dilemmas we face in the financial services industry and the ways in which we are addressing them.

Dilemma: How can we overcome the diversity and inclusion challenge?

Voya Financial is committed to celebrating the differences with which we are born – and those we acquire throughout our lives – and ensuring they are understood, valued and intentionally pursued in the workplace. Purposefully bringing our differences together to positively influence our culture, service our clients and enrich our communities is essential to our vision to be America’s Retirement Company®. A strategy focused on Colleagues, Clients and Community guides our holistic approach to inclusion.

At our most senior levels, we surpass our peers in female representation. Our Executive Committee has 50/50 gender representation and the independent directors of our board is 44% female. Additionally, females comprise 51 percent of our employees, 23 percent of senior managers and 41 percent of people managers. Our work to increase female representation at more senior levels is not without a challenge. We face headwinds in recruiting senior women due to their disproportionate representation in the industry.

Female Gender Representation
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  US Population Financial Services3 Voya Financial4 Voya Comparison

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Additionally, disproportionate representation of Blacks and Latinos as compared to their presence in the U.S. population characterizes the industry at all levels. Further compounding the issue, Black, Latino and Asian representation decreases at each seniority level with variance based on gender: Black and Latino females are represented at higher rates than their male counterparts and the inverse for Asian female professionals9. First-, second-, and senior-level managers who are racially diverse represent 21 percent in the industry overall. At Voya, this number is 15 percent.

Racial and Ethnic Representation
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  US Population10 Financial Services11 Voya Financial12

















We have developed a multi-prong approach aimed at addressing under-represented populations at Voya that includes the following:

  • Programs encouraging careers in financial services with primary and secondary school students.
  • Entry-level program in Voya Investment Management focusing on recruiting under-represented demographic groups.
  • Summer internship programs with nonprofit partners whose beneficiaries are largely female and minority.
  • Recruiting partnerships with diversity nonprofits and associations.
  • Diversity and inclusion awareness campaigns and training including Unconscious Bias.
  • Diversity and inclusion considerations in talent reviews and succession planning.
  • Employee Resource Group development programs.

Because of our strong belief in the value of diversity in the workplace, we have expanded our diversity-related CR Commitments, put plans in place to track progress and will annually report publicly on our initiatives.

Dilemma: How do we address the dip in the personal savings rate in America?

WiSE Perspective
Although the personal savings rate rose in 200813, it has since reverted, reaching 3.2 percent in March 2018. A low savings rate may fuel consumption-driven economic growth in the short run but over time, could threaten long-term growth because it perpetuates reliance on surplus from other countries. Equally  concerning is that 65 percent of Americans have little or no savings1, and 40 percent wouldn’t be able to cover a $400 emergency2. Whether it’s easy access to credit, keeping up with the Joneses, or the wage stagnation, it’s time to focus on the following reasons why we should all save:

  • Beneficial Habit – When the virtue of saving is instilled early, it becomes a habit and teaches youth valuable lessons such as delayed gratification and long-term planning. A 2017 national survey by W!SE14 indicated that 15.5 percent of high school students have never thought of opening a savings account and 10 percent were uncomfortable doing so by themselves. Thus, visiting a bank with a child is an imperative.
  • Compound Interest – An interest-earning account helps your money grow exponentially by earning compound interest (essentially, earning interest on your interest). But to take full advantage, you need to start saving early. Saving $200 a month at 6 percent interest, starting at age 25, will compound to equal approximately $400,000 saved at age 65 versus $200,000 if you wait until age 35 to start.
  • Independence – Saving can provide financial independence by allowing you to pursue goals and personal enjoyment such as starting a business, returning to school, pursuing a hobby or retiring early.
  • Emergency Preparedness – Unforeseen circumstances are a fact of life. Without savings, a simple home or car repair can lead to a cycle of debt. There is peace of mind and reduced financial anxiety in knowing that you can cover an emergency. 

  • Big Purchases – When buying a big-ticket item such as a house, you generally need to borrow money and pay interest to cover the expenses, costing you more. Using savings for a down payment is more cost efficient as the larger the down payment, the lower the interest.

  • Avoiding Debt – Although credit makes it easier to “buy now and pay later,” it also makes it easier to lose track of spending and fall into debt. Rather, “save now and buy later” to control spending and avoid expensive interest payments. It’s important to pay yourself first by saving before spending in order to build an emergency fund, and achieve security, peace of mind and a sense of accomplishment.

Voya Perspective
At Voya, we believe the dip in national savings levels is further proof that it’s never too early to start developing smart money habits. While saving money at all life stages is critical, adults can take the following steps to help instill productive money habits in young people:

  • Talk openly about the importance of saving and being disciplined about spending.
  • Model healthy financial behaviors – children learn by watching adults.
  • Encourage teens to find employment – earning and spending one’s own money instills an appreciation of its value.
  • Share your own experiences with money – the good and the bad.
  • Ask questions about goals and priorities and talk about the financial steps to achieve them because identifying a purpose is critical to savings discipline.
  • Be clear about the limits of what costs they must cover and what costs will be covered by a parent or guardian.
  • Consider offering matching contributions to important savings goals such as buying a car or financing college.

Companies like Voya offer a range of savings, financial planning and advice solutions to help plan for a secure financial future. The door to exploring those options with youth is discussing a plan to save for something important to them. It’s never too early to start talking about personal finances.

1 Bankrate’s Financial Security Index, February 28 – March 4, 2018
2 Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households, Federal Reserve 2017, May 2018.
3 “When women thrive, business thrives.” Financial services perspective, Mercer 2016.
4 As of March 31, 2018; also see Board of Directors & Governance, Committee Composition chart (opens new window).
5 Does not include one executive scheduled to leave the company but separation was not yet processed.
6 2017 United States census population estimates (opens new window).
7 As compared to overall U.S. population.
8 As compared to financial services.
9 Financial Services Industry: Trends in Management Representation of Minorities and Women and Diversity Practices, 2007–2015 GAO Financial Services  Diversity, United States Government Accountability Office, Nov 2017.
10 2017 United States census population estimates (opens new window).
11 Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey (opens new window), Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 19, 2018; Total is not 100% because data is unavailable for all races.
12 As of March 31, 2018; other/undisclosed accounts for 6%; figures do not total 100% due to rounding.
13 Federal Reserve Economic Data, St. Louis Federal Reserve, 2018.
14 W!SE National High School Student Survey- School Year 2016-2017.