A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hosting a panel discussion at the 2015 European Summit for Women’s Private Equity Network (WPEN) during which some of the most influential women in the industry came together to discuss what firms can do to encourage more women to take up careers in private equity. As some of you might know, significantly increasing the number of female investment professionals remains my greatest personal ambition at Kea. Disappointingly, recent data indicates that women comprise a mere 16% of all private equity professionals worldwide with only 6.5% at partner level, and our analysis at Kea shows that female representation in the UK lags even further behind international averages.
While private equity leadership generally acknowledges the relationship between higher levels of female employment and improved business outcomes, few firms have in place any formal processes to attract and retain female recruits or to facilitate their promotion to more senior roles. The WPEN panel of four women addressed a number of topics ranging from work/life balance to unconscious bias during which they outlined some useful insights for young women navigating careers in private equity and the obstacles to improving diversity.