Bringing socio-economic diversity to the investment industry

Socio economic diversity

Why is socio-economic inclusion important?

It is increasingly the case that firms understand the benefits of having a diverse workforce, but obstacles remain to translating this into reality. There is still difficulty for firms to attract a wide range of applicants and support diversity with promotion and retention. The only way to do this is by encouraging young people at the start of their career decision making process to step out of their comfort zones and be curious about industries not known to them or their networks.

Key Facts

  • ‘Class pay gap’ exists with people from working class backgrounds earning £17,500 less than those in the same industry from a privileged background 1
  • Estimated 60% (avg. of £20,000) pay gap exists between the least advantaged women (Black British women) and most advantaged men 2
  • Almost two thirds (65%) of the UK population would not consider a job in financial services and 16% thinking they can’t pursue such a job because they have no contacts in the sector 

What CFA UK members are doing?

The Inclusion and Diversity Committee formed the Socio-Economic Working Group in June 2019, in order to inform, influence and effect change in this space. This group of motivated volunteers are tasked with shining a light on some of these issues as well as identifying opportunities to increase dialogue and change practices as it relates to socio-economic inclusion. 

Ben Elvidge, Working Group Lead, said: “The benefits of having diverse perspectives in any industry is well known and whilst some progress has been made to address other areas of diversity and inclusion, socio-economic inclusion is a laggard. Focusing on breaking the narrative that investment management is an industry only for a certain demographic, with the right network, is essential for young people and the firms they could work for.”

Ben is supported by fellow CFA UK member volunteers, Lindsay James CFA, Tiffany Wong CFA, Eilidh Anderson, David Semmens CFA, and Joy Yang.

What’s in the pipeline?

Coming up at the end of January 2020, the working group are bringing together a fireside chat looking at how the issue can be addressed within investment management and how this has been viewed in other industries. The conversation will feature a Senior Portfolio Manager and a Detective Chief Inspector from the Met Police. 

And look out for their podcast series in January 2020 featuring insights from people across the industry as well as recruiters and other participants across the market. 

Want to help shine a spotlight on socio-economic diversity?

The working group is looking for individuals who challenge the status quo of routes into an investment management and who would be willing to participate in a “spotlight” interview. Critical to encouraging more young people to consider roles in this industry is having clear role models that have already been successful. If you would be interested in participating, please contact:


Sam Friedman and Daniel Laurison, The Class Ceiling, 2019 – Taken from: “Tackling the Class Ceiling” – IA Publication, Sept 2019

2 Sam Friedman and Daniel Laurison, The Class Ceiling, 2019 – Taken from: “Tackling the Class Ceiling” – IA Publication, Sept 2019

3  KPMG, UK Financial Services Faces a Talent Crisis – Taken from: “Tackling the Class Ceiling” – IA Publication, Sept 2019