Path to parity report

Tracking progress towards gender equality in Australian investment teams

Path to parity: Gender equality in investments possible by 2030

Path to parity: Progress towards gender equality in Australian investment teams incorporates three years of workforce data from 22 investment firms and insights from interviews with female investors, and finds we can achieve gender equality by 2030 if we maintain current momentum.

Building upon landmark gender diversity research conducted by Mercer seven years ago, we find 28% of investors are female, up four percentage points.

While progress is promising, parity is far from guaranteed. Women are being hired, promoted and retained at proportionally higher rates than men at most levels, however, men continue to substantially outnumber women. That means any complacency can quickly unwind the progress made. Now’s the time to double down and accelerate momentum.

Path to parity report

Tracking progress towards gender equality in Australian investment teams incorporating three years of workforce data from 22 investment firms and interviews with dozens of female investors.

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Even when work and life gets hectic, knowing my investing decisions make a tangible and positive impact on the world keeps me showing up everyday. I need to be making a difference.

Key findings

  • Proportional hiring, promotion and retention rates of women at most levels are now equal to or greater than those of men.
  • The biggest gains in gender diversity have been made at the entry-level roles. However, exit rates among female senior analysts remain significantly higher than men, largely due to talent poaching. 
  • A third of firms now offer an internship or graduate program. Women secure more internships, but men are awarded twice as many graduate positions.
  • The number of women in portfolio manager roles has declined to 19% – a 4% decline since our 2017 research.
  • Gender parity overall is possible within seven years (based on the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s definition of gender parity being 40% women, 40% men, 20% any gender).

Building a robust pipeline of female talent from the ground up is essential to increase the overall number of women in the industry and reduce reliance on talent recycling.

I love the fast-paced environment, meeting and challenging executive teams, solving puzzles and beating others to the right answer. I thrive on the adrenaline of it all – it makes me feel alive.

“As the only woman on the investment team, I was continually labelled non-technical and given the soft stuff – presentations, reports. You can’t develop your technical skills if you don’t get the opportunities.”

Key challenges to overcome

Female investors love what they do and are passionate about forging their path in the industry, however barriers and challenges persist across three pivotal areas of system, self and leadership.

Investor Insights
System

Low turnover at the top blocks career pathways while male-dominated teams and meetings can also feel exclusionary to women, especially those from cultural and socio-economically diverse backgrounds.

Self

Many female investors are quiet high achievers and are inclined to let their work speak for itself rather than self-promote as much as the archetypical alpha male investor does. The family juggle also continues to place an strain on female investors more than their male colleagues.

Leaders

Poor leadership, characterised by lack of clarity, low emotional intelligence and limited empathy, compounds the inherent stress and the complexity that comes with investing. When coupled with unsupportive policies and a lack of senior female role models, this can lead to women leaving the industry.

Solutions for a more diverse and human-centred investment industry

To achieve gender parity and build a stronger investment management industry, we’ve made 11 recommendations within the report aimed at attracting more women into investments and creating the culture where they want to stay.

Out of those recommendations, here are four ways Future IM/Pact can help:

young prifessional
Grassroots talent development

Build a pipeline of female talent from the ground up by inspiring and enabling women at university and in key career feeder roles to pursue a front-office investing career.

young caucasian freelancer doing her work on laptop from cafe.
Mid-level female investment

Support high-potential female investors to build their confidence, career conviction and influencing skills to better equip them for senior investment decision-making roles.

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Role models and mentors

Build a critical mass of senior female investors across the industry to inspire, mentor and role model leadership for women coming up the ranks.

older man with beard smiling in meeting
Leadership and team programs

Develop the emotional intelligence and leadership capability of investment leaders so they can advocate for women, and build cultures where everyone feels valued.

Read the report and share it with your teams

While the report centres on women in investments, it’s essential to recognise many of the challenges and opportunities captured also impact men. Workplaces that work better for women work better for everyone. That’s why we’re passionate about changing this conversation from being centred on gendered barriers to embracing what it takes to create an environment where everyone can do their best work.

Download the Path to Parity Report

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