Thu, September 06, 2018
Yesterday our team attended the Diversity Project’s annual event at Aviva Investors, sponsored by HSBC Global Asset Management. The event was attended by over three hundred people from across the industry and was opened by Dame Helena Morrissey who talked about the project’s successes over the last year. Helena also updated on the DPs’ Diverse City initiative which aims to raise funds of two million to support the charities who were affected by The President’s Club Dinner. There are still places left at the next three events and we would encourage your firm to get on board.
Keynote speaker Angela Peacock provided an exceptional speech entitled ‘The Diversity Delusion’ and the need to disassociate diversity from inclusion completely. Angela provided a powerful argument to suggest that continual talk of diversity was causing ‘diversity fatigue’ and that this is not conducive to effective cultural change required to create inclusion. Angela quoted the EY’s research on white men whereby 60% said that they felt that they would be overlooked for advancement because of ‘diversity’. Measurement was also highlighted as one the keys to building inclusion stating that: ‘you must measure the hell out of it’ to really drive success. She also urged leaders to ask the question to all people managers: “What have you done to drive inclusion over the last 12 months?”
The event moved on to provide a snapshot on the Gender Pay Gap and explained that the investment industry’s pay gap was one of the most extreme and that this is set to get wider. In the investment industry as of 2018:
The lack of Women in senior leadership roles, the lack of Women in front office portfolio management roles along with the fact that more Women are now coming into the industry at entry level were the three causation factors given for the worsening pay gap. In response, PwC’s Jon Terry stated that the investment industry needed to be bold and admit the pay gap would get worse. He also stated that it was essential that firms focus on the positive narrative around the action being taken to drive female representation across all levels. Working with strategic partners to help amplify efforts is one way in which firms can spread the word and demonstrate investment in Gender parity.
What followed we are series of talks from the Gender, Ethnicity, Disability and Neruo-Diveristy project workstreams. Jane Walsh provided an excellent update on the momentum building within the Gender workstream and announced that a number of new initiatives including an inclusive leadership programme along with a networking event at Legal & General Investment Management on September 26th. Vangard’s Gavin Lewis provided a great overview of the Ethnicity piece and announced the launch of the #talkaboutblack campaign which is setting up a mentoring programme between asset managers and young black people.
HSBC Global Asset Management’s Mieke Bliebenicht gave an inspiring keynote on the power of neuro-divergent talent and her own experience in the industry. She told a powerful story about how her different thinking style could bring a different dynamic to a team’s idea generation and that firms needed to embrace a new talent model to include this type of talent. She cited IBM’s commitment to establishing 1% of their global workforce as Autistic by 2020 is a reminder of how much our industry has to do to catch up. Neuro-divergent talent offers a fantastic pool of talent for data, technology and cyber related roles, the number of which are all on the rise.
The Diversity Project is launching in Northern America and Scotland and we would encourage all firms to jump on board and sign up.