Report Shows Progress over Past 2 Years, But the Industry Still
Struggles to Retain and Advance Women; Women and men report
differing views on severity of gender gap
Institutional investors in the Alternative Investments industry
are driving efforts to improve gender diversity at the funds and
portfolios they invest in, but recruiting, retaining and
advancing women is still the biggest challenge, according to
KPMG LLP’s sixth Women in Alternative Investment’s report:
Call to Act.
The report was based on a global survey of 886 participants,
which, for the first time, included both women and men. The
majority of women and men (84 and 76 percent respectively) agree
that achieving gender diversity is a business imperative.
“We are at a critical time for women in business, and even in
the highly male-dominated Alternative Investments industry we’re
starting to experience progress,” said Kelly Rau, co-author and
Audit partner for KPMG LLP’s Financial Services practice.
“There is still work to be done, but what’s interesting is that
the push toward more balance is coming not only from inside the
AI organizations, but now from the investor side – and it’s
starting to drive action.”
Over the next year, 75 percent of the investors surveyed said
they plan to ask investment teams to report their diversity
efforts, up from 60 percent last year.
More than one third (37
percent) of the investors surveyed said they will require
disclosure of diversity statistics for all potential
investments, up from just 16 percent last year.
42 percent of investors
said they will require the firms in their portfolios to improve
diversity, up from just 11 percent last year.
The report found that retaining and advancing women is still the
biggest challenge, with only 12 percent of the firms represented
in the study taking action to analyze the attrition rates of
“Understanding the reasons why women are leaving is important to
driving change and improvement in retention,” said Camille Asaro,
Co-author and Audit partner, KPMG LLP’s Financial Services
practice. “The factors that cause women to opt-out are complex
and are different for many of the women in this field -- few
examples of women in leadership roles, uncertain upward
mobility, questioning their firms’ commitment to gender
diversity, inclusion, work/life integration – these are just
some of the frustrations women face with their firms.”
The report also found that there is a significant difference
in terms of what men and women think about whether their sectors
and firms are doing enough to advance women.
percent of women said their sector is not doing enough, while
only 45 percent of men agreed with that statement.
48 percent of women
said their firm isn’t doing enough to recruit, retain or advance
women, while only 30 percent of men agreed with that statement.
50 percent of women
polled said their firm’s leadership believes diversity is an
important part of their business strategy, while 65 percent of
men agree with that statement.
“Women should not have to solve the problem by themselves, men
also need to become part of the solution,” said Jim Suglia,
National Leader, Alternative Investments, KPMG LLP. “We are
definitely seeing change in the right direction but there is
still a gap in how men and women view the issue and what remains
to be done.”
The report also found that there is increased focus on women-led
funds. More consulting firms are looking to increase their
roster of diverse and women-owned firms, sponsoring “diverse
manager days” and other focused outreach.
“With all of these efforts gaining traction, we are more
optimistic than ever before about the potential for increased
investment in women-led funds,” said Rau.