This article first appeared in Investment Week, 19th May, 2019
City Hive has proudly been involved with Investment Week's Women in Investment Awards since its launch in 2017. Two years on, the industry has not moved much beyond words, and although we accept change takes time, we need to see some tangible action. Unlike fund performance, the gender pay gap figure is a number we would like to shrink, not grow.
However, to tackle the deep-rooted structural issues, we must work together as an industry.
Women remain underrepresented in the asset and investment management industry at all career levels, with female representation declining as career levels rise. This shows organisations are not making progress in building future female talent pipelines. To address this, we need to collaborate as an industry, rather than as individual firms.
That is why we have partnered with Investment Week and the Women in Investment Awards to do more than shine a light on women in the investment industry.
We are offering tangible help by setting up a cross-company mentoring scheme - open to all - with both male and female mentors, regardless of whether the mentee's company has paid to support the scheme.
We believe this will help cultivate the pipeline of female talent and have real impact.
Companies supporting our mentoring scheme - the only industry-focused scheme - are demonstrating they are not just interested in accreditation and accolades but are truly committed to tackling the gender pay gap and cultivating female talent across the industry.
Our mentoring programme recognises the underrepresentation of women in the City of London and offers support and an opportunity for personal development, while simultaneously creating a bank of visible female and male role models who will champion the support of women.
The additional benefits of mentoring across organisations include greater choice of off-line mentors with different perspectives, skills and knowledge, which might not be available in-house. It allows mentees to look beyond their familiar surroundings to other corporate cultures.
There is also an increased tendency for openness between the mentee and mentor, and by facilitating neutral, unbiased discussions, this can lead to more robust and valuable mentoring relationships.
Investment managers need to actively build future female talent pipelines, particularly in areas lacking female contribution, such as investment and sales.
This means looking beyond their normal reach and working to understand the barriers. Mentoring provides crucial, cost-effective knowledge-sharing and support that accelerates professional development.
It does not matter if the women helped do not work at your firm - in fact it is a bonus. We want to ensure the talent pool can grow.
After years of collective underinvestment in the professional development of a diverse talent pool, this is a way for firms to move forward via corporate social responsibility for the greater good of the industry, with wider positive knock-on effects.
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