The Diversity in Asset Management report from Incisive Works combines tough statistics on an issue that needs to improve - but highlights the genuine commitment large swathes of the industry has already taken to address the diversity 'problem'.
Incisive Works, the commercial content arm of Investment Week's owners, Incisive Media, has released a detailed research report investigating the issue of diversity within the asset management sector in 2019.
Drawing on interviews with over 230 financial intermediaries and leading asset managers from across the industry, the report provides statistical analysis of the current make-up of the asset management sector.
In addition, it explores why the industry needs to build a business case for diversity in order for groups to take advantage of the strategic opportunities offered in terms of employee commitment and business profits over the longer term.
Perhaps most importantly, the research highlights not just where the industry stands statistically on diversity today, but also the range of differing attitudes towards the subject based on respondents' gender, age and geography among other factors.
For example, the research revealed an industry that is 82% male, versus a general population average of 49% (source: ONS).
Perhaps unsurprisingly it is men who appear to have longer service histories in finance overall, with 42% of male respondents having spent 20-plus years in the market - compared to just 26% of female colleagues.
Though the figures are stark, this is a finding in itself that suggests over time women have begun to establish themselves in the industry, albeit slowly with the report stating: "[The figures] reflect the time delay between the implementation of diversity policies and the downstream effects of those policies on the gender composition of senior personnel."
A similar case could be made for the ethnic make-up of the survey, which though overwhelmingly white at 84%, saw BAME respondents account for around one in ten of those surveyed.
With the report's analysis recognising that change in both the gender and ethnic make-up of the industry is underway, respondents suggested it will take time for this change to come into effect and the impact on firms is unlikely to be immediate.
The report highlights improving diversity at a group level is finally being seen as an important issue among intermediaries.
The majority of respondents surveyed feel the need to embrace diversity as a business objective today, with 60% of respondents viewing the improvement of workplace diversity within their firm as either 'important' or 'very important'.
Though it falls behind other priorities such as attracting new clients, it is evidence of the fact financial intermediaries want to instil change and efforts to improve workplace diversity.
In addition, the report found many groups no longer saw the need to improve diversity and increase profitability as two 'separate' issues.