Back to the grind

Portfolio Adviser examines how obstacles faced by parents coming back into the industry after a career break play into wider questions around gender imbalance

Photography of hot coffee in a retro alarm clock.


Misconceptions about hiring returners, self-doubt around ability and juggling logistics are just some of the reasons parents cite for their reticence about coming back to the world of asset management after an extended career break.

The problem is not necessarily an industry specific one. A report from That Works For Me, entitled Careers After Babies – which surveyed 848 women across private sectors in the UK – found that 85% leave full-time work within three years of having their first child, while 19% stop work completely.

The problem is also more nuanced than whether returners are working or not working. Some 32% of women switched out of management roles after having children, while the number of admin roles taken up by returners increased by 44% – suggesting women move into lesser-skilled jobs.

The latter stat is perhaps no surprise, given that the higher the earner, the more likely they are to see a drop in their salaries when they return to work. The report also found that in the UK, women only account for 30% of managerial roles.

This falls to 26% for executives of FTSE 350 companies, and then to just 4% of CEOs. In fact, according to a report from Equality Group’s FTSE 100 CEO Diversity Data Report published in July, there are more CEOs named Andrew and Simon at the helm of the UK’s largest companies than women in chief executive roles.

Within the UK asset management industry, 88% of money managing roles are currently occupied by men, according to research from The Diversity Project’s Pathway programme.

The reasons for this are more wide-ranging than women taking career breaks; men are increasingly taking periods of leave to care for their children and many women choose not to have children. However, in the UK, 82% of women will be mothers by the time they are 40, according to That Works For Me, which equates to 43% of the nation’s workforce.

There is therefore no doubt that this will, in part, have had an impact on the gender imbalance among fund managers.

To read the rest of this article visit the October edition of Portfolio Adviser Magazine

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