Where are all the female alternative asset managers?

Industry report shows that women account for less than one fifth of alternatives employees globally

Where are all the female alternative asset managers?
Steve Randall

The gender gap in alternative investment management is slowly closing but there is a long way to go according to a new report.

Industry analysts Preqin says that in 2019 women made up just 19.7% of employees in the alternative assets industry globally, a slight increase from 18.8% two years earlier.

“Over the last two years we have seen a modest increase in female representation in the alternatives industry. Modest, but not insignificant – this rise does represent real gains in the number of women employed in the industry,” said Joanna Nye – VP, Research Enablement.

In North America, 20.4% of alternatives fund manager jobs are held by women, followed by Europe at 19.1%, Asia at 18.8% and the Rest of the World at 17.5%.

Women are better represented within institutional investors at 27.8% especially in those with assets under management below U$1 billion (31.7%) compared to those with AUM of $100 billion or more (25.6%).

By asset class, private equity (19.4%), venture capital (21.1%) and real assets fund managers (19.6%) have the greatest proportion of female employees. For senior positions, venture capital has the largest proportion of senior women employees (13.4%) and real estate the lowest (8.5%), the only sector with single digits.

Addressing the gap
Nye says that the realization of fund managers that there is a gender gap has led to larger firms introducing initiatives to address it by attracting and retaining female talent.

“But diversity pledges and childcare schemes must be weighed against accusations of uncomfortable working environments and the chronic underrepresentation of women on company boards and in C-suite positions. Firms may be attracting more junior female employees, but they still promote men at far greater rates,” she said.