Tuesday 16 June 2020 1:06 pm

Frustrations grow for women in private equity as pay gap issues continue

Women in private equity are still battling gender pay gap issues and a male-dominated industry, according to new research.

A fifth of women surveyed by Investec claim to be more dissatisfied with their work in private equity, compared to just 8.2 per cent of men.

Read more: Private equity activity reaches new peak but firms brace for difficult year

However, women are not pursuing other options within the private equity world. The number of women considering starting their own firm has dropped from a measly 2.3 per cent in 2019 to zero per cent this year.

This compares to nearly 15 per cent of male general partners, according to Investec’s global GP trends report.

The frustration is evident as 14.7 per cent of women said if they left their current roles they would look to start a business outside of the private equity world. This compares to 11 per cent of men.

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Additionally, 20.6 per cent of women would consider a move within the finance industry, while just 3.2 per cent of men have looked at this possibility.

Emily Cvijan at Investec Private Bank suggests these figures reflect the low numbers of women in private equity, around 18 per cent.

The industries firms recruit out of – law, investment banking and accountancy firms – have their own gender diversity issues. A lack of representation will add to the frsutration felt by females. Given there are so few women in the industry making it up the management rankings “women don’t feel like they have the experience to set up their own firm,” Cvijan tells City A.M.

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Cvijan also suggests that the gender pay gap is fuelling dissatisfaction among female GPs.

Three in five women believe they would be paid more for doing the same job if they were male. This sentiment is even higher amongst women below partner at 75 per cent.

Much has been made of the importance of diversity in helping fund performances. Private equity risks falling behind if initiatives, like those being put in place in the wider financial industry, are not adopted.

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While the government has suspended the pay gap reporting, Cvijan tells City A.M. it is crucial PE firms publish data to increase transparency.

And diversity will be even more valuable through the Covid-19 crisis, says Cvijan. “I hope that the pandemic is going to highlight the importance of having diverse workforces and the work… A diverse table gives you a more relatable route to success.”

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