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44 per cent of businesses do not have an effective gender parity strategy currently in place, and 42 per cent of employees feel that their company does not have a hiring policy that is truly inclusive. This is according to the results of our latest survey which explored how organisations were performing when it came to gender inclusion, and what employees felt needed to change for gender parity initiatives to work. 

Altus Partners is committed to improving diversity and inclusion in the private equity and venture capital industry and as part of this commitment, in May, we ran the first of our Empower for Change: Each for Equal events. The webinar focused on the importance of gender diversity in business, and how to overcome the imbalance we currently have in our sector. Following the event, we surveyed our attendees to get their thoughts on how things stand - here’s a summary of our key findings. 

The need for grassroots initiatives 

Interestingly, while 56 per cent of our respondents said their current employer had an effective gender parity strategy in place, 82 per cent would like to see their company adopt a more detailed strategy to address the imbalance. 

This isn’t surprising when we dig deeper into the number of gender parity initiatives currently running; almost a quarter (24 per cent) said their company does not run any such initiatives, while a further 41 per cent say they are running less than five. 

Furthermore, 24 per cent of respondents reported having ‘no idea’ if their employer was running any schemes to promote gender equality. We strongly encourage all businesses to implement grassroots initiatives that will support and enable people from all backgrounds enter our industry.  

Effective hiring strategies  

Looking to recruitment, one in five businesses are not adopting any of the following practices; blind hiring, diversified talent pools, balanced shortlists, diverse hiring panels, statistical analysis and reporting. We would consider these vital for any organisation wanting to promote change and enhance the way their company operates. 

When asked about the most important factors of a hiring strategy that addresses gender imbalance, our respondents overwhelmingly said that the incorporation of diverse hiring panels was key. This was closely followed by the need to widen the application pool beyond traditional sources and promote stories of women who have succeeded in the organisation. 

Driving change  

To conclude the survey, we asked our participants what they felt needed to change in order for gender parity initiatives to succeed. A number of respondents referenced the importance of flexible working arrangements and better enhanced paternity leave. Others said it was not just to do with childcare and that significant work needed to be done to address conscious and unconscious bias in the workplace. 

Many also called out the need for leaders to have real desire and commitment to make necessary changes. As Lara Markham, Investment Manager at Graphite Capital said during our Empower for Change event, “you can have all the initiatives but if senior management doesn’t actually believe in the diversity drive and just see it as boxing, there just isn’t a chance of change.” 

To see what else was discussed at the event, take a look at our blog, 4 things we learnt at Empower for Change: Each for Equal.