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Jensen Partners Gets Funding to Track Diversity in Private Markets

During the first quarter, firms hired 20 percent fewer Black marketing employees compared to last year.

Jensen Partners, an executive search firm primarily focused on private markets, has garnered outside capital to help it grow its diversity tracking technology and build out its internal team. 

The firm, which places fundraising and investment professionals at asset managers, has received an investment from JB Capital, a Washington-based alternatives firm that invests in sectors underserved by traditional banks and larger institutional investors. Jensen could not comment on the size of the investment.  

However, according to Jensen, the deal is sizable enough to add staff to focus on the firm’s DiversityMetrics platform, which tracks the careers of 25,000 employees in the industry. The firm also plans to hire additional partners to oversee the effort.  

“What gets measured gets managed,” said Sasha Jensen, founder and CEO of the firm, during an interview. “It's a large endeavor but it’s important for the managers and LPs to use the platform to measure data for themselves.” 

Limited partners use the data to track diversity at the firms that invest on their behalf, while general partners can track how both they — and their competitors — stack up on an anonymous basis.  

In a recent example, an asset management firm building out its infrastructure team asked the search firm to help it increase the ethnic and gender diversity of its staff by 50 percent by 2025, according to Jensen. The firm used its tech platform to map out global infrastructure teams, tracking both young analysts coming up in the industry and senior professionals.   

According to a September report on the data harvested by the DiversityMetrics platform, Jensen Partners saw a nearly 50 percent increase in women hired in 2021 compared to 2020. Men still continue to make up the majority of new hires, however, on an absolute basis.   

White people accounted for 80 percent of the hires tracked during the first quarter of 2022, according to Jensen Partners.   

During the first quarter of 2022, asset managers hired fewer Black marketing employees than they had the year prior — a 20 percent decline year-over-year. At the same time, though, retention of Black employees increased, according to the data. 

JB’s investment comes as the diversity, equity, and inclusion promises made by asset management firms in 2020 have started to produce results, giving job candidates more data to make career decisions aligned with their values.  

Jensen Partners has changed the way it pitches jobs to potential employees. Instead of just covering compensation and benefits, the search firm also shares the diversity, equity, and inclusion practices of the employer.  

“That has made a real difference in the pitch,” Jensen said, recalling a recent search where a client chose an employer because of a program it had that foused on the advancement of women, even though it paid less than other options. 

According to Jensen, the market downturn hasn’t yet hit searches.  

While Jensen Partners tracked a record high of people moves — 1,013 total — in the first quarter, Jensen said there was a slight decrease in the third quarter. Still, though, the firm talks to an average of 20 candidates each week who are participating in several industry searches.  

“We haven’t seen evidence of the recession having shifted yet,” she said. “We haven’t seen searches being canceled... There’s always a need to retain assets under management and grow them in a tricky market.”

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