Diversity & Inclusion in Private Equity:
A Work in Progress

by Andrés Ramos, Content Marketing Specialist – eVestment Private Markets

A top priority for fund managers

Diversity & inclusion initiatives are among the top priorities for fund managers in today’s private markets. In EY’s 2021 Global Private Equity Survey, over 70% of private equity managers surveyed said they have launched either documented or informal D&I initiatives. What’s more, 85% indicated that these efforts, “will have a direct impact on diversity within their organization and on organizational culture or DNA.”

While these initiatives are moves in the right direction, the results have yet to truly bear out in recruiting results within the world of private fund capital raising professionals. In 2018, executive search firm Jensen Partners began tracking diversity statistics for marketing hires in the financial services industry and found that as of October 2020, Black and Hispanic marketers represented only about 5.6% of new hires.

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Recent results

These findings are echoed by Jensen Partner’s analysis of hiring data for capital raising and distribution professionals in the first quarter of 2021 which found only about 4% of new hires were Black or Hispanic/Latinx. In terms of gender diversity, the figures are more promising but still tilted towards men. In the first quarter, 41.8% of new hires were female.

A work in progress

In the view of Jensen Partners founder and CEO, Sasha Jensen, the progress is notable, but it is still early days in terms of seeing real results, “Whenever we start tracking something with the intensity which all of us now as an industry are tracking, we will need to wait around twelve months to really see a shift in the industry.”

Sasha went on to note that one reason for the underwhelming results is the lack of formal leadership in place for these initiatives. That said, Jensen Partners found that in the past twelve months, 34% of asset managers surveyed had hired Heads of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion and that, “[The efforts of these new Heads] will lead to improved retention and satisfaction from diverse candidates and will lead to more of a measurable program and accountability that the asset manager will have going forward.” .

For the private markets, an industry that is still critiqued for its homogeneity, time will tell if these steps will help usher in a new identity for the industry, one that more actively mirrors that of the society we live in.

More insights on private markets hiring trends

Watch our recent conversation with Sasha Jensen to get full insights into how recent trends in hiring for capital raising roles in the private markets.

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