The sky’s the limit for women pursuing careers in the male-dominated financial services industry, but they need to be persistent to achieve success, according to one female financial executive. TheStreet spoke with Susan Combs, president of the professional organization Women in Insurance and Financial Services, or WIFS. The organization recently conducted a research project to look at successful women in finance, and compiled the results in a book called ‘Women at the Top,’ which examines the careers of 23 women. One of the lessons learned, according to Combs, is that women in financial services need to invest time in their careers. ‘They need to hang on for three years,’ said Combs. ‘Three years seems to be the tipping point. So I think a lot of times people say, oh if I haven’t been a success in six months then I’m going to throw in the towel. I think it’s just being patient.’ And patience can lead to a hefty paycheck, as evidenced by the astronomical salaries made by the 23 women profiled in the book. ‘The majority of them make over $500,000 a year. Four of them made a million dollars a year consistently, and two of them at one point in time for one year made over $10 million,’ said Combs. But despite the potential payoff, women remain underrepresented in the financial fields. Combs estimates women comprise just 14% of the total industry.
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