Canadian private-capital industry lagging in diversity

Canadian private-capital industry lagging in diversity

Canadian private-capital industry lagging in diversity

Canada’s private-capital organizations can do better when it comes to promoting diversity and inclusion, according to a new industry report.

New figures from the Canadian Private Equity and Venture Capital – State Of Diversity & Inclusion 2019 report, jointly presented by the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA) and BDC Capital, offered a snapshot of the current state of diversity and inclusion within the Canadian private-equity and venture-capital sectors.

Drawing from a survey of CVCA member firms, the report found that of 145 partners across 23 PE firms, only 17 (12%) were female. Female VC representation was similarly lacking, with only 14 females out of 132 partners (11%) across 36 VC firms.

“The private capital industry trails the Canadian banking and legal professions which have 38% and 25% of their management positions held by women,” the report said.

On a positive note, the industry’s female talent pipeline presents a chance to promote more women into partner roles. In eight out of 36 VC firms that participated, women accounted for more than 50% of entry level/junior employees; in five of the 36 firms, women represented over 50% of non-partner managers.

Turning to the PE side, six out of 23 firms had more than 30% female representation among their entry level/junior ranks, while four out of the 23 had women representing over 30% of their non-partner managers.

The survey also examined representation of visible minorities in Canadian private capital. Of 145 partners at PE firms, only eight (6%) were visible minorities; diversity and inclusion was better at VC firms, where visible minorities accounted for 24 out of 132 partners (18%). At Canada’s banking and legal professions, visible minority representation at the partner level was reported at 15% and 9%, respectively.

“Of the 36 VC firms, 9 had more than 30% of their entry-level/junior employees and non-manager partners who were visible minorities,” the report said. “Of the 23 PE firms, 7 had more than 30% of their entry-level/junior employees who were visible minorities. A smaller number, 2 out of the 23, had more than 30% of their non-partner managers who were visible minorities.”

Indigenous, LGBTQ+, and persons with disabilities could also be represented better among the PE and VC firms surveyed, the report said. Looking at the workforce of 23 PE firms, 21 had no indigenous representation, 19 had no LGBTQ+ representation, and 21 included no persons with disabilities. Among 36 VC firms, 19 had no indigenous employees, 29 had no LGBTQ+ workers, and 32 employed no persons with disabilities.

To boost diversity and inclusion among its members and stakeholders, the CVCA said it would offer education and information on the benefits of diversity and inclusion. It also pledged to create education opportunities for members in existing and newly created programs, including the Canadian Private Capital Investment School; showcase success stories among its members; and continue to advocate for and support programs that promote a diverse private capital ecosystem.


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