Less than 12% of senior roles in alternatives industry held by women, research finds

In 2019, more women are working in private capital and hedge funds than there were two years prior. However, a significant gender imbalance remains at mid-level and senior positions within the alternatives industry, according to a Preqin study.

Women currently represent 19.7 per cent of the alternatives workforce compared to 18.8 per cent in 2017, the research found.

Further, private equity, venture capital and hedge funds now have a larger proportion of female employees, but representation in private debt, real estate, infrastructure and natural resources has decreased.

Across asset classes, most female employees occupy junior roles, such as analysts and associates, the study noted. Then, there’s a small drop-off in mid-level roles like senior associates and vice-presidents – and a marked decline among the senior positions, including managing directors and C-suite executives.

“At senior levels the proportion of women is significantly lower – the asset class with the lowest share (8.5 per cent) of female employees in leadership positions is real estate,” it said.

Following gender discrimination allegations at high-profile firms, the venture capital industry has shown the most improvement. It has surpassed all other asset classes in achieving a greater representation of women across junior, mid-level and senior roles. “Women in junior positions made up over a third (36.3 per cent) of all employees; at the mid-level, this figure was 29.9 per cent; and at the senior level, 13.4 per cent,” the study noted.

The alternatives industry is not alone as it pertains to low female representation in senior positions. According to a 2017 study by the International Monetary Fund, women hold less than 20 per cent of global banking board seats and account for less than two per cent of bank CEOs.