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A third of investment organizations participating in the CFA Institute’s recent diversity, equity and inclusion program said they’ve trained between 81 and 99 per cent of their employees in detecting unconscious bias or practicing inclusive leadership, according to a new survey.

The survey — conducted across 41 investment organizations that participated in the 2020 program — found 93 per cent of respondents said improving business outcomes was the top factor in embracing DEI principles, following by talent acquisition (71 per cent), ethical values (57 per cent), client demand (26 per cent) and compliance (two per cent).

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In response to the many anti-racism rallies held in 2020, 93 per cent of participants said they held a town hall for employees, while 71 per cent provided online resources to workers. Two-thirds (68 per cent) said they leveraged their employee resources groups and another 68 per cent engaged in corporate citizenship initiatives, while 59 per cent increased diversity training and 44 per cent communicated their diversity message to clients.

Regarding the hiring process, 24 per cent said they require a diverse slate of candidates, while 49 per cent said it’s encouraged but not mandatory. Similarly, 22 per cent said they always have diverse interview panels, while 48 per cent said it isn’t a requirement. Half (54 per cent) of respondents said less than 50 per cent of roles are filled by internal candidates, 24 per cent said internal candidates fill roughly half of these roles and just three per cent said they fill the majority of roles by promoting from within.

While 50 per cent of participants reported no change in their DEI budgets in 2020, 44 per cent said they increased allocations and six per cent said they reduced funding.

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The vast majority (95 per cent) said employee engagement surveys were their top DEI data tool, followed by employee demographic data (90 per cent), promotion or advancement by demographics (80 per cent), retention by demographics (76 per cent), pay equity analysis (73 per cent), candidate slates composition (63 per cent), DEI event metrics such as attendance and viewership (63 per cent) and interview panel composition (41 per cent).

Among organizations with employee resources groups, 83 per cent had groups for women, followed by racial and ethnic groups (78 per cent), LGBTQ2S+ employees (73 per cent), veterans (49 per cent veterans), employees with disabilities (41 per cent) and different generations (37 per cent).

And more than half (59 per cent) said the coronavirus pandemic improved company culture as employees learned more about each other, while 56 per cent said their employee resources groups became more active and 26 per cent said major DEI projects were accelerated as a result of the crisis. Conversely, 26 per cent reported a negative impact to culture due to the lack of in-person interaction, while 18 per cent said resources groups became less active and five per cent put DEI projects on hold.

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