Today is Women’s Equality Day in the United States – it commemorates the signing into law of the Women’s Suffrage Amendment in 1920. Strangely, no such date for women’s suffrage is marked in the UK – although there are still many structural inequalities between men and women.
Despite the fact that society has progressed in leaps and bounds, women continue to be underrepresented in the investment world, both as portfolio managers and equity analysts. This disparity has become even more pronounced over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, with women being disproportionately affected in regards to working and career progression.
With the global asset and wealth management industry predicted to grow in value to 145.4 trillion dollars by 2025, businesses will need to innovate to take advantage of new opportunities, including how they recruit talent. Finding, nurturing and retaining the right people will be absolutely vital as the industry reinvents itself.
In this week’s blog, we’re exploring ways in which businesses can bring more women into asset management.
1. Rebrand the property industry
Unfortunately, the property sector is still viewed as being male-dominated. Offering more information and opportunities for women “at the entry point”, will help cultivate careers. This means, efforts need to be made to attract women just out of school or university, with workshops, internships or trade organisations to help develop their talents.
2. Access to mentorship/sponsorship
Companies need to be involved in formal sponsorship and mentorship programs. These will help expose junior level candidates to role models in senior positions.
Not only will this provide opportunity for those starting out on the career ladder, but also those at every level. Reverse mentoring could also help to share lived experience; this will give more senior executives a one-on-one understanding of a particular issue, such as diversity or generational differences.
3. Reverse the gap in the promotion rate
Women are 24% less likely to attain their first promotion than their male peers, even though they request promotions at similar rates. This creates an ambition gap, with only 26% aiming for top executive positions, compared to the 40% of their men.
This needs to change. The way to do this is to break the pay barriers and remind female employees that they can achieve the same as their male counterparts.
4. Offer flexibility in the workplace
This will enhance work-life balance. Surveys have found women may not want to take on senior level positions because of conflicts with work-life balance. Firms can address this with the offer of a flexible working schedule; something which many businesses have experienced great success with during the pandemic.
5. Advance gender diversity via target setting and measurement
Companies need to establish clear and appropriate metrics regarding the recruitment, retention, advancement and representation of women among both business units and support functions – alongside equal pay. Across all five areas, they need to focus on the right interventions and measure their progress over time.
The rewards of gender diversity are clear. It’s time for businesses to take decisive action to capture those rewards, just as they would for any other strategic imperative.
Applying a distinctive vision to property since 1992; Targetfollow are constantly seeking new innovations to further distinguish ourselves in the sector. In obtaining this; we understand the importance of diverse perspectives and allowing talented visionaries to lead us into the future.