How can an investment manager with ten guys and no turnover show its support of diversity?
Think this is impossible? It’s not. Read on to find out how it can be done.
Guest Blogger, Joe Holman, ESG Practice Leader, Withum.
The traditional measure of diversity, the employee census, generally doesn’t present managers having few employees in the most favorable light. Investment managers typically have a core group of people and make very few hires. And yes, most of their employees are white men. However, does this mean a manager can’t or doesn’t support diversity? Absolutely not.
Managers can’t change their profile, but they can make diversity a part of the growth equation. There are several concrete steps managers can take to support diversity, including; 1) supporting the diverse needs of their employees, 2) actively recruiting a diverse workforce, and 3) supporting overall diversity in the industry.
Support your People
Fostering a culture of inclusion in the workplace and supporting the diverse needs of your employees helps maintain current diversity. With women leaving jobs for lack of childcare and religious customs under fire, supporting the diverse needs of your people is more important than ever.
Recognize the importance of supporting employees with family obligations:
- Offer hybrid work arrangements for employees with family responsibilities.
- Support remote work for staff with sick children, a child attending virtual school, or an aging relative in need.
- Develop parental leave policies recognizing the significance of the birth or adoption of a child.
- Create on-site Mothers’ Rooms or other private spaces.
Cultural and Religious Differences
Appreciate cultural and religious differences:
- Accommodate religious holidays by not scheduling significant events conflicting with those holidays.
- Respect and support food restrictions and required fasting.
- Allow employees to support their heritage and customs.
Grow Diversity Over Time
Diversity is an ongoing process that’s never complete and always needs to be part of your DNA. Regardless of how diverse a firm is today, it’s essential always to maintain a robust diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) hiring policy.
Consider a diverse pool of qualified candidates for all new hires:
- Develop relationships with recruiters who offer qualified candidates from underrepresented demographics.
- Post jobs on websites that applicants of all backgrounds frequent.
- Recruit from colleges and universities that have a significant minority student body.
- Recognizing resumes from candidates with difficult upbringings may not accurately describe their capabilities.
Internships are a great way to expose people of all backgrounds to life in finance. Choosing to work at an investment management firm can be intimidating and appear out of reach for some groups. By providing internships to minorities and women, you balance the opportunities by providing real-world experience and demonstrate finance can be suitable for anyone with the right skills and desire to succeed.
Expand the Universe
Minorities and women are historically underrepresented within investment firms and the industry as a whole. Unfortunately, finding qualified candidates from underrepresented demographic groups can be challenging, no matter how hard you try. A great way to confront this challenge is by creating a larger pool of qualified candidates. This doesn’t happen overnight, but by supporting organizations like those listed below, you are doing your part in growing diversity in tomorrow’s financial community.
SEO Seizing Every Opportunity
Creating a more equitable society by closing the academic and career opportunity gap for motivated young people from underserved and/or underrepresented communities.
Girls Who Invest
Dedicated to increasing the number of women in portfolio management and executive leadership in the asset management industry. Our mission is to have 30% of the world’s investable capital managed by women by 2030.
100 Women in Finance
Committed to building a more diverse and gender equitable finance industry by promoting diversity of thought, raising visibility, and empowering women to find their personal path to success.
If you invest in recruiting diverse talent, but not grow and retain that talent into leaders, your investments—measured in time, energy, resources—will never be fully realized.
Diversity allows managers to pull from a broader range of experiences and skills, and by instituting a few concrete steps, managers of all sizes can take advantage of these benefits. And yes, even small firms with no turnover can do their part to advance diversity in the financial community.