Study: women underrepresented in funds management industry

Research from Preqin shows that women only make up 20 per cent of the global alternative assets funds management industry. The proportion of women begins to decline depending on the seniority of the position, with women making up 29 per cent of junior alternative assets staff, 23 per cent of mid-level staff and 11 per cent of senior roles.

Across all regions of institutional investment, a similar trend is being followed; women are more represented in junior roles than in more senior positions. Only 18 per cent of all employees in the industry in Australia are female, compared to a global average of 21 per cent.

By asset class, private equity employees have the lowest proportion of women, at 17.9 per cent, which is followed by hedge funds at 18.6 per cent. Real estate and venture capital firms employ the highest number of females, at 20.6 per cent and 20.5 per cent respectively.

Women are promoted by role type in marketing teams or investor relations; as high as 50 per cent in private equity firms and 53 per cent in venture capital funds. The average proportion of female employees among senior staff does not rise above 11 per cent, which is commonly seen at venture capital firms. Private equity has the lowest rates at nine per cent.

Amy Bensted, head of hedge funds at Preqin, said, ‘It is notable that women are best represented in client-facing or finance roles, while the deal making and operations teams are the most male-dominated.

‘The disparity in the rates of junior and senior female staff shows that progression through the industry remains rarer for women than for men. This contrasts sharply with institutional investors; women constitute one in five senior staff at public pensions, and more than one in three at foundations. The industry has some way to go before achieving true parity between genders, and this issue will continue to be closely monitored by commentators and industry bodies over the coming years.’

This research is based on 200,000 industry professionals globally.