IA and Thinking Ahead Institute publish benchmark report on EDI in UK’s investment management industry

by | Nov 16, 2023

The Investment Association (IA), alongside WTW’s Thinking Ahead Institute, has today published an industry-wide data report on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) data in the UK investment management industry. 

The EDI Data Survey provides an overview of diversity data collection, including a demographic snapshot of the industry’s workforce. The report also explores how data can be used to inform EDI strategies, with the aim of fostering inclusivity and attracting and retaining diverse talent in the industry.

The availability of clear and consistent data is crucial in establishing a benchmark, which will support firms to drive positive change and ensure diversity is embedded at all levels of their organisation. Gaining a better understanding of the makeup of the workforce (65%), fostering an inclusive corporate culture (60%) and using data to better inform EDI initiatives and interventions (48%) were cited as the top three drivers of diversity data collection.

The commitment to increasing diversity comes from the top of firms, with most (86%) identifying CEOs, Board directors and executive leadership, as ultimately accountable for EDI in their organisations. As leaders look to drive change, firms across the industry are reviewing their recruitment practices, and more than three quarters (77%) use inclusive job descriptions, such as gender de-coding. The majority (79%) of firms are also engaged in partnerships with external diversity and inclusion-focused initiatives and organisations, including our talent solution, Investment20/20. Nearly two thirds of firms are actively working on building awareness of the industry among young people.

The report found that almost all (96%) firms in the industry collect data on two or more attributes and 71% collect against four or more attributes, with age, gender and ethnicity having the highest response rates. This data revealed that:

  • Just under a third of the industry’s workforce is aged between 18 and 34, compared to 43% of the UK’s working population. Some 63% of industry employees fall in the 35 to 64 age bracket and just 1% are 65 years old or older. This compares to 62% and 4% of the UK’s working population, respectively. This suggests a relatively younger composition of the investment management workforce, which is contrary to historical perceptions of an industry with an older employee demographic.
  • Although the gender balance has improved over recent years, 55% of industry employees are male and 39% female, with 7% not disclosed.
  • The industry is predominantly White, with 60% White employees, 10% Asian and 2% Black, compared to the breakdown of London’s population of 54%, 21% and 14% respectively.

Access to more comprehensive data across a wider range of attributes has the potential to lead to more effective EDI strategies. For example, a third of firms (33%) have indicated plans to start collecting data on socio-economic background, caring responsibilities and neurodiversity. The report also suggests that firms need to focus on inspiring trust through clear communication and setting the ‘tone from the top’ with leaders actively engaging in shaping values throughout the entire organisation, to encourage more employees to disclose their data.

Karis Stander, Director of Culture, Talent and Inclusion at the Investment Association, said: 

“It’s crucial that the investment management industry reflects the people that we serve and the society we operate in. Our EDI Data Survey offers a comprehensive look at the state of diversity and inclusion in our industry. Creating a culture of diversity presents a clear business case, and organisations with an inclusive workforce offer better returns, drive innovation, retain talent, and ultimately, provide a better service to our clients.”

“Data is the backbone of creating and implementing an effective EDI strategy. It offers the best possible opportunity to drive change by informing allocation of resources, evaluating the success of initiatives and progressing current and future diversity and inclusion plans. I hope that this survey will provide a useful benchmark as firms continue on their diversity journeys.”

Marisa Hall, Head of the Thinking Ahead Institute, said:

“Unlocking industry progress in equity, diversity and inclusion means measuring more than we currently do. But transformational change requires more than just data measurement – it involves deeper thinking on issues necessary to build a sound infrastructure for equity, diversity and inclusion plans. This study serves as a gateway to change, being the first-ever unveiling of UK-specific EDI statistics, and I hope it establishes the pulse monitor for progress in the UK investment industry.”

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