Gender equality and closing the gender pay gap remains high on the investment management industry’s priorities.
In the past year, the UK fund industry has been approaching diversity within their organisations more holistically. This is one of the findings of the newest study of the Investment Association (IA), titled “Adressing the Gender Pay Gap – Industry Initiatives”. The study is the 2nd of its kind, the first one being published in March 2019, and the latest one in May 2020 (the reporting deadline for 2020 has been suspended due to the COVID-19).
Showing and sharing innovative initiatives
The study is meant to showcase a number of policies, programmes and procedures embedded by the industry to work on their gender pay gaps. Addressing the gender pay gap is “a priority for the Investment Association (IA), both as a trade body and as an employer, and for our members”, writes the association in the foreword. The IA itself takes the issue of gender balance seriously, with a ratio of 62.5% women to 37.5% men it its own senior management. Furthermore, it is signatory of the Women in Finance Charter and HM Treasury’s pledge for gender balance across financial services.
The investment industry has found that it is essential to attract and retain the best talent available, starting at junior level, to support the internal development of a diverse talent pipeline of senior leaders of the future.
Attraction and Recruitment
For those focusing on the recruitment of women at entry level, efforts have been targeted at apprenticeships, internships and graduate schemes. Many firms have taken the long-term view that, though it may cause their gender pay gap to initially widen due to an increase in the number of women in junior entry level roles, the most sustainable way of closing their gender pay gap is to build their talent pipeline from the bottom up.
Recognising that, “in order to do so, the wider public must first be aware of the investment management industry. Members have looked to awareness events and partnerships to promote the industry’s value and purpose”, so the study.
Retention and Advancement
Moreover, it is important to retain women in the industry and help them develop an individual career. For this, a structure to retain women who are new to the industry, and those already building their careers within investment management, is essential.
Here, a particular focus has been on programmes and policies which seek to empower women to have more control over their working arrangements.
Also, the industry puts a proactive effort to advance and develop women. This is critical for closing the gender pay gap, as a significant driver of its existence is the greater number of men in senior and high-earning roles. “Technical training is key, but this must be continued in parallel with opportunities to build relationships and networks for career progression too”, so the study.
Measuring and Monitoring
To ensure that measures are targeted efficiently in the appropriate areas, it is crucial to have an accurate picture of a firm’s current position and a clear idea of where it wants to be. This provides a basis on which firms can build their diversity strategies efficiently.
Some firms have integrated gender data into a dashboard which is then overseen and monitored by senior leaders. The firms need to have clear targets in order to reach them. That could be either a focus on the representation of women at senior levels or on the percentage of women coming through as entry level hires.
Only a few asset managers have made senior managers accountable for meeting these targets for the business areas they oversee, and may even link diversity targets to their remuneration.
The study gives concrete examples of programs and measurements taken by its members. It is good when best practice ideas are shared this way!