Diversity and Retention in the Investment Industry: Quantifying the experience of female investors

A report by Kea Clusters.

Kea Clusters

Since inception, Kea’s ethos has been to ensure diversity initiatives are integral to our hiring strategies. We believe that diversity in the workplace is vital.

Research indicates that a more diverse workforce leads to better decisions in the long-term and a happier, more rounded team. However, acquisition of diverse talent is nothing without including and retaining those members of your team.

Established in 2018, Kea Clusters is a platform to help women in investment make professional connections and establish a supportive network. Kea Clusters now comprises over 15 Cluster groups connecting over 200 female investment professionals across London, Madrid, Berlin & Munich, meeting on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Diversity and Retention: Our Study

Seeking to unravel the challenges that women face within the investment industry, Kea Clusters has developed and deployed a survey to better recognise the obstacles that women face within the workplace. Aims of the study include understanding recruitment versus retention strategies, recording parental leave policies and measuring the effects of mentorship programmes.

Who did we ask?

We surveyed over 50 women in the alternative investment industry, varying in seniority across a range of investment strategies and fund sizes.

What did we find?

Participants indicate that firms have a higher percentage of gender diversity at the junior level, contrasted with a mere 0-10% of women holding senior positions.

Nearly half of those surveyed feel their experience at work differs from that of their male counterparts. Significantly, 15% believe their firm is not committed to gender diversity at all, and almost 30% think it’s a PR exercise. Participants elaborated to suggest improvements within the workplace, each indicating how easily unconscious bias can lead to a contrast in treatment of female employees.

With a lack of senior role models promoting equal career progression, only a limited number of those engaged at a junior level will progress through to senior level positions. Due to the lack of progression opportunities, women in finance are less inclined to seek roles in investment.

When combined, these elements present a significant inequality within the investment industry. Discussion of further findings can be found in our report.

So what can be done?

Valuable initiatives hinge on integration and inclusion of minority groups, rather than simply fulfilling a diversity quota upon hiring. Approaches highlighted for their success include the availability of mentorship opportunities, flexible work arrangements, better parental leave policies and transparency over promotion criteria.

A clear and steady focus on longer-term cultural and policy issues is needed by all firms in the investment industry if we are to avoid an exodus of the very people we have been trying to attract. Please get in touch to receive a copy of our findings in full, detailing actionable recommendations to retain diverse talent in the investment industry.

For a copy of the report or to find out more about Kea Clusters, please contact Emma McManus on [email protected].