Candidate survey results: is recruitment broken in the investment industry? 

Wed, July 25, 2018

It is proven that diversity increases creativity and produces better outcomes. So Ocean has taken a proactive approach to supporting and promoting minority and under-represented groups within the investment industry. We have trained our recruiters in diversity and inclusion practice, developed our own inclusive culture and launched an in-house diversity and inclusion centre of excellence. These direct actions have enabled us to hit both our own targets and those we set ourselves to achieve for our clients. For examle, last year 59% of the people we secured jobs for were Women and this year we will build on this further. 

Our Recruiter’s spend their lives speaking to people who are frustrated with hiring processes. They also speak to lots of unhappy people in their current jobs. Even when an outcome has gone favourably for a candidate in a recruitment process there are always noticeable points of improvement and dissatisfaction. The truth is that hiring decisions in the investment industry are mostly made based on the following 6 criteria:

  • Who do you know
  • Where you have worked previously
  • What school and university you attended
  • What subject you studied
  • Whether you have a recognisable name
  • What job roles you have completed previously

In other words, hiring managers and HR professionals are looking for people who are mirror images of themselves or indeed their firm. Only last year a Diversity Project & Mercer Study found that hiring and promotion within the investment is perceived to be exclusive and done through ‘the old boys club’. The impact is that firms are looking to very narrow talent pools where there is little or no diversity at all.

This summer we decided to ask our candidates about their own lived experience of being hired and promoted.

5 key candidate insights:

  1. 96% said that they felt frustrated by current hiring processes.
  2. 81% felt that they reported into a Manager who didn’t understand them.
  3. 69% felt that they lost out to opportunities because of their CV.
  4. 85% felt that they had been refused a job which they could do easily.
  5. 63% said they lost out to a candidate ‘who was a better cultural fit’.

To discuss some of these themes in more detail please get in contact with us. 


Peter Hall, Diversity & Inclusion Director 


T: +44(0)2039098650

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D&I Metrics

What gets measured gets done. That is why we collect diversity metrics on both our candidates and clients in line with the Data Protection and Equality Acts. This allows us to identify areas requiring additional focus and also to measure progress across the industry. With biases prevalence through the employee lifecycle we actively utilize our diversity data to demonstrate where barriers exist and to create solutions to overcome them.

Are you An Inclusive Leader? Ocean's 10.

Decide if you are an inclusive leader by answering the following 10 questions:

Do you sponsor someone with high potential who is from a group currently under-represented in leadership to support them in realising their career aspirations?

Do you ask those you manage or lead for feedback on the impact of your style and approach in supporting them to perform well and/or progress their careers?

Do you know the different values and drivers that motivate those you manage or lead and do you leverage these to help improve performance?

Do you challenge others if their behaviour or actions do not support inclusion and diversity?

Are you aware of the stereotypes, assumptions and judgements you make about different groups (unconscious bias) and what you can do to minimise the potential negative impact of these?

Do you involve and encourage those you manage or lead to identify problems early on, come up with solutions and improvement ideas?

Does your team reflect diversity in its demographic make-up, background and perspectives and do you leverage this to avoid group think?

Are you clear how inclusion and diversity can help you meet your own and the wider organisation’s business goals?

Do you help those you manage or lead understand the bigger organisational and strategic picture and their role within this?

Do you mentor others, including women and people from minority backgrounds and check that your approach meets their specific needs?