Is diversity among City partners growing at a snail’s pace?

Tue, September 04, 2018

Diversity among City partners growing at a snail's pace” 

Financial Services (including the investment management) already faces challenges relating to the perception that its culture may impede a women’s success in the industry. Perception accounts for much of why financial services organisations have a hard time retaining women. Until that perception is dislodged nothing will change.  These findings, dare I say - substantiate the scale of the challenge ahead for the industry to be authentically inclusive.   The problem is not hiring women, the challenge is in retaining female talent and preventing the creation of plateauing careers.   

While the Gender Pay Gap has help to push for better reporting of female pay - The industry clearly needs to do more to retain and progress the pipeline.  For example firms may need to look at the benefits of offering a more agile working environment to help women (and men) stay in the industry. They will need to take on-board the needs of millennials (estimated to be the largest component of the future workforce) who are less motivated by financial reward than previous generations.   In addition, the levels of sexual discrimination experienced and/or witnessed by women in financial services will only serve to perpetuate the bias that industry is not inclusive. 

At Ocean we are acutely aware and well versed with the challenges the investment management industry faces in retaining and progressing talented women across all levels within investment management firms.  We are proud that we made good progress in helping firms recruit female talent, in fact 59% of the people we placed were women in relation to men. 70% of our Director level appointments were women and 67% of our Associate level appointments. We have proven that it is possible to identify, engage and attract female talent when applying commitment and focus.  The industry clearly needs to innovate and adopt more inclusive recruitment practices to "...move away from hiring from internal networks that favour make candidates".  We have a developed an inclusive recruitment paper looking at the biases that exist within the recruitment process. The paper includes organisational recommendations for firms to adopt.

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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?