Less than one in five employees at alternative asset management firms are female — and still fewer women hold senior roles or investing positions.
According to data released Wednesday by Preqin, investment teams are on average 15 percent female across alternative asset classes. At hedge funds, just one in ten investing staffers are women.
Overall, women account for 19 percent of all staff in the alternative investment industry. A large portion of these women hold marketing and investor relations roles: On average, 45 percent of marketing and investor relations staff are female, the highest rate of any job function. At venture capital firms, more than half of marketing roles are filled by women.
“There are quite a few women in asset management, but they’re shifted or encouraged into client-facing, operations, or legal roles," said Kathleen Powers Dunlap, chief executive officer of Girls Who Invest, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the number of women in portfolio management and executive roles.
Dunlap said alternative asset managers are the worst when it comes to gender diversity in investment management, lagging behind traditional asset managers and asset owners.
“Growth has been quicker at traditional asset managers and asset owners, and one reason why is that the jobs are typically more collaborative in nature,” she said. “The collaborative nature of those types of roles has been very attractive and doable for a lot of talented women.”
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According to Preqin, women make up 29 percent of junior roles across alternative asset classes, but just 10.5 percent of senior staffers are female. Private equity firms have the smallest number of women in senior roles, at just 9 percent.
“The numbers are slowly improving in senior roles, but the asset management industry has been very slow compared to other professions,” Dunlap said.
Among asset allocators, 21 percent of employees are women, though this figure varies widely among investor type. Endowments and foundations, for example, boast staffs that are 36 percent and 40 percent female, respectively. Slightly under a third of public pension staff are women, while 21 percent of employees at corporate pension funds and sovereign wealth funds are female.