Investment professionals call for increased diversity and inclusion efforts in the workplace

Friday 10 March 2023

CFA Society of the UK (CFA UK) has today released the findings of its annual Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Survey, measuring the views of investment professionals across the UK investment industry. The survey revealed that investment professionals are calling for increased diversity and inclusion efforts across the workplace.

The 2022 DE&I survey showed that 48% of investment professionals believe that encouraging respect for differences among employees through campaigns at work will do the most to combat discrimination in the workplace. Alongside encouraging respect, participants identified three other important actions they would like to be taken, these include: 

  • Respond to any evidence or complaints of inappropriate behaviour 48%
  • Educate all staff about discrimination through training 42%
  • Deal with any complaints of discrimination promptly and confidentially 45%

Over half (66%) of survey respondents also believe that managers should be doing more to address workplace discrimination by educating on unconscious bias, showing statistics on progress, providing transparency on pay and actively fostering inclusive cultures. Other groups that need to do more help include the HR team (54%) and company Boards (40%).

Despite identifying actions and the teams that need to do more to combat discrimination, the survey also found that 54% of respondents reported infrequent discrimination in the workplace, an increase from 40% in the 2021 survey. Of those who experienced discrimination, gender (26%), social-economic/educational background (25%) and race (23%) were the most commonly cited reasons.

The discrimination investment professionals are facing is affecting their careers. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of respondents stated that the discrimination they faced affected their career progression. This highlights the need for action to be taken to ensure that all employees have an equal opportunity to progress in their careers.

Investment professionals were also asked what the industry needs to improve the most on; gender (41%) and race (36%) were identified as the top areas. 

Arun Kelshiker CFA, vice-chair of CFA UK’s DEI Committee commented: “Actions taken to diversify the investment industry have been underway for many years now and while these initiatives show that steps are being taken in the right direction, our industry has a pressing responsibility to accelerate meaningful change. Firms, industry bodies and individuals all have a critical role to play in calling out discrimination at all levels, especially given the large number of investment professionals who have reported experiencing discrimination in the past.
Diversity, equity and inclusion covers a broad range of highly relevant issues. Most efforts to date have focused on gender and we need to broaden the scope to drive efforts along other DEI dimensions including race and ethnicity, socio-economic mobility, LGBTQIA+, disability and caregiving as well as neurodiversity among others. Workplaces need to grow in both their intention as well as their awareness and skills-building on DEI issues to provide an environment that actively supports diversity, equity and inclusion.” 

Will Goodhart, CEO of CFA UK, also commented: “CFA UK is committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the investment industry. We are currently working with CFA Institute on the introduction of a UK version of the DEI code which will be launched in 2023. Alongside this CFA UK is continuing to build out the Young Women in Investment Program, an initiative to provide a route of entry for women into the investment management industry, as well as member run working groups such as the Black Professionals working group, which encourages black professionals to join the industry as well as retaining and building a sense of community amongst its members. 

“We will continue to work with our members, partners and the wider industry to address these important issues.” 


Notes to editors: 

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About CFA UK

Part of the worldwide network of member societies of CFA Institute, CFA UK represents the interests of 12,000 investment professionals in the UK.