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Data drives diversity for financial services firms

Wealth Management
Asset Management
Private Equity
Hedge Funds

New research shows more and more financial services firms are using diversity data to improve their workforce.

Research from New Financial found that boards have been upping their data requirements since legislation was passed requiring employers with 250 or more staff to to reveal the exact size of the gender pay gap between their female and male employees every year.

And it’s not just the law that’s changing - clients and shareholders are becoming increasingly interested in diversity in firms.

The more progressive firms are looking into their gender data to establish why employees join, get promoted or leave.

In ‘Empowering Productivity’, a 2016 review of women in financial services, Jayne-Anne Gadhia recommends companies track several data points, including the gender split for the business, the board, and each business unit.

The New Financial study found that data is the most commonly collected data set. This could then act as a gateway to collecting data on other axes of inequality over time.

“The diversity data discussion is not about choosing women over men, or a person from a diverse background over a more qualified candidate,” says New Financial partner Yasmine Chinwala, the author of the report. “It is about injecting rigour and accountability into the processes. The industry recognises that it needs to improve.”

But is this new attention to diversity data actually bringing improvements for firms? According to the Financial Conduct Authority, the answer is a resounding yes - measuring diversity data has had a “transformational impact”.

The study showed that managers at Schroders are changing their behaviour because of the improvements in diversity data. Their asset manager said: said: “Decisions are more thoughtful and considered because everyone sees that data.”

Tara Kengla, the chair of the London Women’s Forum, which sponsored this research, said diversity data analysis was “critical to driving harder and really turning the dial on diversity.”

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