The vast majority of senior investment roles continue to be held by men. While historically fewer women have joined the industry, increasing numbers of hires at junior levels present an opportunity to improve representation at the top.
Our research explores how PE and VC firms can progress and retain senior women in investment roles, drawing on the experiences and insights of 25 women from Principal to Managing Partner across different fund sizes (including 4 who have left the industry).
“Firms need to look inwardly to work out how to retain diversity. You have to really dig in and see what you can change.”
Our findings revealed…
The industry is well-positioned to retain senior women:
Private Equity and Venture Capital continues to attract talented women and provide a rewarding experience.
Senior women are willing to break the mould and disrupt homogenous, male-influenced cultures, setting an example for junior women.
A consistent view of what drives retention emerged in our study, adding power to the case for change.
Awareness at the top is growing. 75% of our participants see their leaders as being committed to D&I.
The climate is ripe for change with Covid-19 disrupting traditional work models and an intensifying focus on ESG
But awareness and intent is yet to deliver the outcomes required…
14% of our participants believe there is the right balance of gender representation on senior leadership teams.
Our participants identified 5 key drivers to retain senior women:
Self-aware, skilled leaders who prioritise team management and provide the supportive, developmental conditions for women to stay.
Inclusive cultures that welcome differences, invite openness and create a sense of belonging.
Transparency & Fairness
Meritocratic performance systems that recognise varied contributions, discourage self-promotion, and reward the ‘how’ as well as the ‘what’.
Family Life Support
Mature, tailored, and proactive efforts to help women navigate different life stages and balance personal commitments.
Supportive Working Environments
Flexible working and structured initiatives which accelerate networks, connection, and progression for women.