The Best Places for Women to Work in Institutional Investing

Foundations and endowments rank as the most gender-diverse organizations in the asset management industry, according to Preqin.

Illustration by II

Illustration by II

The asset management industry is not known for its diversity. But near-gender parity can be found at one type of institutional investor: charitable foundations.

Roughly 46 percent of total staff employed at foundations are female, according to new analysis by data firm Preqin. By comparison, women hold 27.8 percent of jobs across all institutional investors, Preqin said.

Other allocators with higher levels of women employees included endowments, where 40.6 percent of staff are female, and public pension funds, where women account for 34.7 percent of employees.

Insurance companies, meanwhile, ranked as the least-gender-diverse allocators, with women holding 20.8 percent of roles. Still, even insurers reported higher levels of gender balance than alternative asset managers, where industry-wide female representation was 19.7 percent.

“Investors far outshine fund managers in terms of female employment,” Preqin said in the report.


[II Deep Dive: Only 15% of Alternative Investment Teams are Female]

The Preqin report does not break employment down by job function, so it is unclear what proportion of women hold investment roles as opposed to back-office or administrative jobs. Looking at seniority, however, Preqin found a noticeable decline in female employment among higher-ranking positions.

According to Preqin, women hold 33.4 percent of junior positions across all types of institutional investors. That figure drops to 25.9 percent for mid-level roles, and just 17.2 percent for senior positions.

Only endowments and foundations maintained similar levels of gender balance across junior and mid-level roles. At foundations, for example, women hold 48.4 percent of junior positions and 48.6 percent of mid-level jobs. At endowments, meanwhile, women account for 41.6 percent of junior roles and 42.2 percent of mid-level positions.

At the most senior level, however, female representation drops to 37.4 percent at foundations and 28.2 percent at endowments.

Preqin also found that smaller organizations had higher overall levels of gender diversity compared to the largest investors. At sub-billion-dollar institutions, for example, women held 37.6 percent of junior roles, 33 percent of mid-level jobs, and 20.5 percent of senior positions. At the largest funds, meanwhile — those with $100 billion or more under management — women accounted for 29.3 percent of junior staff, 21.5 percent of mid-level employees, and 15.4 percent of senior executives.

“Progress is generally slower at the largest institutions,” Preqin said in the report.