Men Dominate Senior Asset Management Positions


Ahead of the government’s Gender Pay Gap reporting deadline of 4 April, the Investment Association has launched a new report which looks into the make-up of the gender pay gap in the asset management sector. The report also brings together some of the flagship initiatives that the industry is taking to help narrow the gap and provides recommendations for benchmarking and monitoring of progress.

The report ‘Closing the Gap’ finds that IA members have a median gap of 31%. A significant factor is that many senior positions are still filled by men, with just 1 in 10 (11%) of survey respondents having a female CEO or a female Chair. On average across survey respondents, 2 in 5 people (38%) working in the asset management industry today are women.

The report also sets out a series of fifteen initiatives that the industry is undertaking in order to help address the gender pay gap and make the industry more diverse and inclusive. The initiatives are centred around three types of approach: (1) attraction and recruitment; (2) retention; and (3) advancement. The importance of monitoring the impact and progress of these initiatives and targets is also discussed. These include interventions such as:

Over half of firms offer early career support initiatives such as female recruitment days (53%), gender-focused insight days (57%) or further education scholarships (10%) designed to get young women interested in asset management earlier in their careers.

More than two thirds of firms now build gender diversity polices into their recruitment processes from the selection of the recruiters to requiring gender balanced longlists and shortlists (68%). They use name blind CVs (23%), require a minimum number of women on interview panels (26%), and (76%) provide unconscious bias interview training. More than half of firms (52%) also have filtered out gender-coded language to ensure female candidates are not put off by language in job adverts.

A strong majority of firms (87%) offer enhanced parental leave policies and many actively promote parental leave policies such as emergency childcare funds (47%), as well as having in place a returners policy (30%) and flexible working programmes (100%) to demonstrate that the industry is an inclusive place to work.

Over half of firms have established women’s networks (54%), and just under half (43%) have developed mentoring programmes for high potential women.

Chris Cummings, Chief Executive of the Investment Association, said:

“The publication of gender pay gap figures is opening up important conversations in boardrooms around Britain about how we recruit, promote and retain a diverse talent pool. The bottom line is clear: firms with a diverse management team and pipeline make better decisions.

“The sobering gender pay gap figures – as opposed to unequal pay which is illegal – published for the first time last year were never going to be fixed overnight, and it will take time for the solutions that our industry are pursuing to bear fruit. But it is only by investing in long-term solutions that we can hardwire diversity into the foundations of our industry and help it become more diverse, inclusive and more successful, at every level.”

Whilst two thirds (62%) of IA members surveyed conduct equal pay audits and two thirds (65%) currently monitor gender related metrics, the level of detail on performance indicators varies widely. The Closing the Gap report suggests a number of measures which could add more consistency and granularity to that approach, including gender representation for new hires (excluding graduates) and new hires at graduate level, as well as the total number of applications received by gender each year.

Source: Investment Association

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