Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace: what’s the current reality within fund management?

Posted in Hedge Funds, Private Equity on 14 October 2019

At Altus Partners we believe that a happy and healthy workplace is one that makes everyone feel welcome and part of the team, promoting flexibility and doing everything in their power to ensure employee satisfaction. We are confident that a diverse workforce is also a beneficial asset to the company themselves, as it has been proven to generate 19% more revenue.

In order to find out how much this was reflected within workplaces in the fund management industry, we have asked our clients to answer some questions about Diversity & Inclusion.

Initiatives to promote a diverse, empowering and flexible workplace

We were happy to discover that all clients adhered to at least one of these initiatives. Level20, which encourages private equity firms to recruit suitably qualified women, was the most popular, with 62% of votes.

Mental health 

When it came to mental health, the results were more disappointing, since less than 40% of the workplaces had a mental health policy in place. While the lack of a dedicated policy does not automatically mean that there is no consideration for mental illness, there is certainly room for improvement: since a survey has found that 67% of employees who struggle with mental illness are too worried to bring it up at work, we think that a mental health policy would reduce this fear and encourage them to discuss it with their bosses. 

Returning to work

Returning to work after some time off, whether that be for maternity or paternity leave or any other scenario, is a pivotal and often dreaded moment of someone’s career: it can be hard to reinsert oneself into a work environment that might have changed during someone’s time off, but only 23% of clients run a return to work programme.

When it came to paternity, the Statutory Paternity Leave was the most common arrangement, but many workplaces offered more than one option, including Contractual Paternity Leave, with two weeks at full salary being the most popular offer.

Flexible working

Allowing employees to work flexibly is directly proportional to their happiness and inversely proportional to their stress levels, so we were thrilled to find that all of our clients offer this option to their workforce.

Diversity

There are many ways to prioritise, promote and ensure diversity within the workplace.

One way is to educate the staff internally about the benefits of diversity, which is something that just over half of the companies involved with our survey do.

Another way is to appoint an officer responsible for it, but it did not turn out to be a popular option, perhaps because it’s particularly difficult for small companies that can not rely on large teams.

Another idea is to have a diversity target. It did not prove to be popular at the moment (only 46% have one), but it’s certainly something that could be discussed and considered. 

On the contrary, using social media to attract and build a diverse team was a very popular choice, with 62% of votes.

When hiring, over 90% of our clients look for shortlists that balanced gender groups, with just under half of them concentrating on minorities, too. In fact, 85% insist on a level of diversity when receiving such lists.

62% have even considered rewriting their job descriptions in order to encourage as many people as possible to apply, including minorities.

We found the answers very interesting and believe that they can be a great starting point for a conversation on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, which are undoubtedly signs of good people management and valuable assets to any company.

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