4 diversity and inclusion predictions for 2019

Wed, January 16, 2019

Welcome to a brand new year

In 2018 we saw an increase in awareness and momentum on harassment through #MeToo movement and the first reporting of Gender Pay Gap information for organisations of over 250 employees (reporting progress to government). Within the UK investment management industry, the Diversity Project actions culminated in its keynote ‘Action not words event’ promoting the need to focus on inclusion for the industry.  For us at Ocean, our Managing Director, Clare Scott was recognised by the UK Venus Awards as an ‘Outstanding CEO’ finalist. It also marked one year since launching LGBT Great and our #getinspired event where we announced our Membership proposition and launched the iiBT. 2019 will continue to be a year of challenge and opportunities for diversity and inclusion in the investment management industry.

Our top 4 predictions are:

  1. A new focus on ‘belonging’

Diversity and inclusion efforts within the investment industry have mainly focused on improving and increasing female representation. In recent times, various programs have looked to increase the presence and profile of women at senior levels and in front-line roles such as portfolio managers as well as reporting on Gender pay gap.  In 2019, I believe there will be a continuing focus on female representation but challenging the negative perception the industry has gained through programs such as LGBT Great, Investment20/20 and #talkaboutblack.

These initiatives have one thing in common, they are focused on creating a culture of trust, where all voices are heard, and people feel safe bringing their authentic selves to work and ‘belonging’ to the industry. Every asset management firm is on its own unique journey in valuing diversity (that includes cognitive diversity) and recognising the need to be authentically inclusive (which is not the same as diversity). We are now seeing organisations looking to create workplace cultures where individuals feel they ‘belong’.  

In 2019, more firms will look to create cultures of “belonging” as well as targeting interventions to tackle particular pain points such as gender pay which are been driven by legislation.  I also expect to see some firms starting to capture ethnicity data, flexible working policies and increased engagement with LGBT+ talent through the LGBT Great Project 1000 visibility drive.

  1. Increased D&I appointments

Throughout 2018, more businesses across all sections, including investment management recruited D&I professionals and see this trend continuing. Organisations are realising that to make progress on the inclusion journey, it is important that the approach needs is aligned and central to their core business strategy. More organisations will recognise that the role cannot be realistically done ‘on the side’ in addition to other business responsibilities, neither can they expect to rely on respective employee resource groups.

  1. Greater connectivity between employee resource groups 

Employee resource groups or diversity networks have been around for a while and are key to any D&I strategy. These groups are vital for bottom up communication to senior leaders and supporting employees who may feel marginalised at work. However, there is increasing resistance from employees who do not wish to be labelled to one particular characteristic (especially Millennials), as they may identify with more than one characteristic and are interested in being “allies” for other diverse groups. This year we will see an increase in diversity networks collaborating (across the industry and sectors by organising activities and campaigns that speak to multiple groups). Some organisations are creating a formalised “inclusion council” to bring network’s together around key inclusion topics.

  1. Generation Z has arrived

There has been a huge focus on Millennials and how they have changed today’s workplace practices and environment.  However, that is about to change, Generation Z (those born after the mid-1990s) are now entering the workforce and consumer marketplace in droves (accounting for 40 percent of all consumers globally by 2020). They will be driving Millennials to fulfill the expectations that have been set for that generation. This generation, who are the real early adopters and digital natives, to demand better and easier-to-use technology, more flexibility in the workplace, more freedom of choice, and greater degrees of acceptance and transparency in the workplace and marketplace. They are particularly interested in seeing companies address global issues such as the environment and human rights.  Engaging effectively with this cohort will require a new leadership skillset. ‘Inclusive leaders’ are well placed to lead and engage effectively with this group and other generations and can help your organisation to maximise on forthcoming industry changes.   

I would welcome your thoughts on these predictions. Do you agree or disagree? Have we missed anything obvious?

Peter M. Hall, Diversity & Inclusion Director




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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.