Marguerite Soeteman-Reijnen is the current Chairman Executive Board Aon Holdings & Aon Group International NV. She was the first chief broking officer for Europe, Middle East and Africa at AON Risk Services, the world leader in risk management and insurance broking.
After her keynote speech, the Rise & Lead team sat down with Ms Soeteman-Reijnen for an interview to ask her thoughts on important issues that affect women today.
Check out the interview below to find some great tips on negotiating your salary, what financial advice women need now and more.
What do you see as the most significant financial challenge to women at the moment?
“In addition to the general pay gap, there is a gap which has not yet been identified as such, which is important. I’m talking about your time and savings gap. This all has to do with the financial well-being of women. And well-being is being defined as four interrelated items: social well-being, emotional well-being, physical well-being and financial well-being. Women have lived longer than men. The expectancy age of a baby being born today when you’re female is 90 when you’re male is 88. So women live longer. In the west, there’s even a five-year difference between men and women. That’s number one”.
Women have also, especially in the Netherlands, have worked less than men. There have been part-time, there have been parental leave-takers, there have been carer-leave takers, and as such, on the retirement end, they’ve not built up as much funding as men have.
This gap is starting to become imminently visible, and it’s essential to address this.
What financial advice would you give women?
My advice to both independent contractors and employees are the following:
Make sure you’re aware of your finances today.
Make sure you’re aware of your finances for a rainy day
Make sure you’re aware of your finances for that one big day which you would like to do – whether that’s early retirement or a trip to Australia.
What can companies do? Companies can take a look at what are the differences between the female and the male situation regarding retirement. They need to understand what kind of solutions and products they can provide to make up for those gaps, which do exist.
What advice would you give to a woman negotiating a new salary offer?
If you’re a millennial trying to work today, this is the era of data. So make sure you’re making fact-based decisions around the offers you get. When you work in an organization, you feel that there might be a gap, make sure that you get the data or HR receives the data and make sure you have a benchmark being performed around your percentage.
For employers, these days, it’s specifically important to make sure they have the facts so they can make informed decisions around what pay they offer to new colleagues joining.
If you’re already in a company and you feel like you have questions around the pay, you’re getting, and if you feel like there’s a disparity in your salary, you should reach out to HR, reach out to your superior and ask them for a benchmark.
What should women who want to rise to leadership roles know?
So my advice to women, especially young women, is to believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will do it. So be aware of your pros and cons. Be mindful of your capabilities and skill sets. Be aware that there are many good things about you, but also some bad things about you. Just embrace them and let them be as they are and go forward with high drive and be resilient and have fun on the journey.
You can view Marguerite’s complete Keynote Speech during the Rise & Lead Summit 2019 when you join the Rise & Lead Virtual Community or the Rising Leaders Circle. Signing up to our community memberships gives you complete access to Rise and Lead video vault of past events, free training resources, keynote speeches, panel conversations and previous masterclasses. Click here to join today.
Ebere Akadiri is an accomplished entrepreneur and an advocate for women in leadership. Her passion to inspire others to achieve their goals drove her to found Rise and Lead Women along with her co-founder, Poonam Barua. Their mission is to inspire women to take the lead in closing the gender gap in workplaces and in business.