"Stale, male and pale" - boys' club in IM uninterrupted

Women in the investment management industry are still reporting gender-based sexual harassment, offensive behaviour, and exclusion for work events, new research confirms. A University of Sydney study of 127 women working in the investment management industry in Australia put the numbers on paper: 

  • Thirteen per cent of women in the IM industry have experienced sexual harassment
  • Twenty-two per cent have experienced gender-related offensive behaviour at work
  • Twenty-four per cent have been excluded from work events due to their gender

Other key findings of the report include: 

  • Male staff appear unwilling to deal with complaints
  • Some past claims of sexual harassment have been ignored, hiddens or have had negative career implications
  • About 34 per cent said they were the only woman employed in their occupation at their workplace
  • Negative views and attitudes seem to be held towards women working in investment management, particularly from older men who model behaviour for the younger generations
  • Women don't feel that they are always taken seriously at work and have to fight against being placed into support roles that they are overqualified for
  • Women do not feel as though they are afforded the same career progression opportunities as men
  • Some respondents felt like they were just hired to meet a diversity quota
  • The gender pay gap in IM is alive and well, with some women managing men who are paid more
  • Older survey respondents have seen little to no change in the last two decades

Women who have reported discomfort with aggressive communication by male colleagues have been told that 'this is just how men communicate'. Most women said human resources policies supposed to protect workers are ineffective and not implemented. 

The research highlights the idea that men are not genuinely invested in gender equality in this industry, and that a bias still very much exists in favour of men. 

The majority of the women surveyed were analysts, senior analysts and portfolio managers working at superannuation funds and large funds management organisations.