Review the diversity and inclusion in finance report from CFA Institute. Learn about diversity initiatives and goals for ideas on how to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
As one chief diversity officer at a financial service company said, “How do we ensure our leaders are educated on diversity & inclusion (D&I) and are clear on the expectations on them? We ask leaders to move the needle, but we don’t give them the tools.”
What can we learn from companies that have succeeded? We set out to answer this and other questions in a series of industry workshops that formed the basis for this paper.
Through a series of workshops, firms were able to openly discuss what they are doing, what’s been working, and what comes next in the field of diversity & inclusion.
From these workshops, we devised a list of 20 concepts that repeatedly came up and the recommended actions for how to use them.
The events leading to this report were held in Toronto, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City. The composition of roles was as follows: C-level executives = 19%, MD/head/VP = 36%, other investment professionals = 24%, HR/D&I = 18%, other = 3%.
What We Found
Derived from the series of workshops, the following survey questions and answers revealed the current state of diversity and inclusion, including notable regional variations.
Does your firm have a stated diversity goal?
Two-thirds of firms have a stated diversity goal.
Highest: Philadelphia 76%, Chicago 73%
Lowest: San Francisco 58%
What motivates your firm's efforts regarding diversity & inclusion? (select up to three)
The two greatest motivations for firms' efforts around diversity & inclusion have transitioned to improved business outcomes and talent acquisition from compliance.
Notable differences by market included a greater sense of client demand for diversity in Philadelphia (57% cited this as a factor), and reputation was a more important factor in Toronto (54%) than elsewhere.
For your organization's diversity & inclusion efforts, how do you prioritize the balance of values and business outcomes?
The discussion around motivations for pursuing diversity often revolves around two main areas: “the business case for diversity” (i.e., with more diverse perspectives, business outcomes will improve) and “because it is the right thing to do.”
In all cities except Chicago, the motivation for pursuing D&I is business outcomes more than values.
What is your involvement in diversity efforts at your firm?
Many commented that diversity responsibilities are often add-ons and time invested is not necessarily recognized or rewarded, suggesting that the business outcome rationale is not fully and authentically supported.
What focus areas does your firm have for diversity & inclusion? (check all that apply)
In many cases, firms have employee resource groups (ERGs) or business resource groups (BRGs) to provide employee networking and support and to leverage diverse perspectives. ERGs may be described as affinity networks, whereas BRGs are more directly informing business decisions.
What is your organization's most pressing need related to professionalism in the diversity & inclusion space?
While Recruiting, Developing, and Retaining a Diverse Workforce are by far rated the highest for educational needs, every BRG should encourage the business to demonstrate the connections between D&I and business outcomes.
How do you think your firm is doing on diversity?
In pre- and post-workshop polls, participants rated their own firms higher — a score of about 3 — before the workshops but with a mix of reactions following the sessions.
How do you think the investment industry is doing on diversity?
Firms tended to rate the industry very harshly on D&I before the workshops but somewhat better after the sessions.
From the data and key ideas that came up repeatedly in the workshops, an action list emerged to help guide the industry forward. This is a dynamic list and we expect it to change as firms put these ideas into practice and the industry makes progress.