Investment management is failing in its support for working parents

Despite COVID-19 doubling the workload for working parents, investment management firms are not providing additional help

Only a small minority of the UK’s leading investment management firms are disclosing how they support working parents – despite a record number of dual-career parents working full-time through increasing challenges brought on by the pandemic.

The key findings are from new research curated by executive Coaching Consultancy – specialists in helping employers support working parents as they progress through the different stages of parenthood.

The study, ‘The Parental Fog Index 2020: How firms can strengthen diversity, reputation and fund performance with family-friendly policies,’ audited all firms listed by the Investment Association in its monthly ranking of funds under management. They were assessed for the transparency of policies for parental leave, including pay and duration, and flexible working arrangements.

For the first time, the extent to which firms across the investment management sector would need to improve transparency to meet the growing demands from politicians and investors has been benchmarked.

The key findings of the study were:

  • Only 27% of firms publish comprehensive details of parental policies, including details of pay and duration of parental pay and leave.
  • Support for working parents is invisible in 54% of firms who do not publish their parental policies at all, and 42% do not refer to the support for working parents.
  • Of the 46% who do publish policies, 19% rely on generic statements with no specific details of provision for working parents in their organisation.
  • 54% of the firms audited made no mention of shared parental leave
  • Only 26% ranked as invisible in other sectors for transparency of parental benefits, compared to 42% in this sector.

Coming at a time when the popularity of finance careers has dropped by 22% in favour of a tech career, and the number of dual-career parents reaches a record high, firms who do not take proactive steps to highlight support for working parents will be hindered in their efforts to attract and retain the talent they need to thrive.

Geraldine Gallacher, CEO, ECC, author of the report, said: “The implications of these findings for those responsible for attracting and nurturing future talent are clear: firms across the investment management sector need to up their game when it comes to transparency around the support they offer working parents.

“They also need to understand the critical role that transparency plays in talent attraction, particularly now that COVID-19 has driven all search and recruitment activity online.

“We know that many employers provide more support for working parents than appears on their website.

We also know that the expectation that applicants will ask information on support for working parents at interview stage acts as a deterrent to prospective employees, as many fear doing so will raise doubts in the interviewer’s mind about their career ambitions.”

For investment management firms who wish to compete for the best talent, the actions taken by organisations identified in the report provide a clear benchmark for the changes they can make to create a level playing field for all prospective employees.

A lack of gender diversity presents a significant risk to fund performance and reputation. At the same time, pressure from investors to invest in companies with a sound reputation for ESG exposes a firm’s reputation to risk while their record on diversity remains poor.

Geraldine will outline how to become a Beacon Employer at a webinar hosted by Bruin Financial on 10th December at 9.30. Contact nicole@executive-coaching
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