Majority of Investment Management Failing on Transparency Over Support For Working Parents

The UK has highest number of dual-career parents on record. Only a small minority of the UK’s leading investment management firms are disclosing how they support working parents at a time when the UK workforce has a record number of dual career parents working full time and as coronavirus increases the challenge parents face in balancing work and parental responsibilities.

This is the key finding of new research which is published today from the Executive Coaching Consultancy, specialists in helping employers support working parents as they progress through the different stages of parenthood.

The investment management sector specific study, “The Parental Fog Index 2020: How firms can strengthen diversity, reputation and fund performance with family friendly policies” audited all firms listed by the Investment Association in its monthly ranking of funds under management. They were assessed for the transparency of policies for parental leave, including pay and duration, and flexible working arrangements.

The research benchmarks for the first time the extent to which firms across the investment management sector would need to improve transparency in these areas to meet the growing demands from politicians2 and investors for proactive disclosure of the support available.

The key findings of the study were:

  • 73% of investment management firms fail to disclose basic information on pay and duration of parental leave and flexible work arrangements.
  • The sector compares unfavourably with other sectors where only 26% of recruiters of top talent are rated as invisible
  • Only 27% of firms publish comprehensive details of parental policies including details of pay and duration of parental pay and leave.
  • Support for working parents is invisible in 54% of firms who do not publish their parental policies at all and 42% make no reference to the support for working parents
  • Of the 46% who do publish policies 19% rely on generic statements with no specific details of provision for working parents in their organisation.
  • 54% of the firms audited made no mention of shared parental leave
  • Investment management compares less favourably with other sectors in a separate cross-industry study of employers published this year only 26% ranked as invisible for transparency of parental benefits, compared to 42% in this sector.

Coming at a time when the popularity of finance careers has dropped by 22% in favour of a career in tech and the number of dual-career parents reaches a record high, firms who do not take proactive steps to highlight support for working parents will be handicapped in their efforts to attract and retain the talent they need to thrive.

Geraldine Gallacher, CEO, ECC, author of the report said: “The implications of these findings for those responsible for attracting and nurturing future talent are clear: firms across the sector need to up their game when it comes to transparency around the support they offer working parents. They also need to understand the critical role that transparency plays in talent attraction, particularly now that Covid-19 has driven all search and recruitment activity online. We know that many employers provide more support for working parents than appears on their website.

We also know that the expectation that applicants will ask information on support for working parents at interview stage acts as a deterrent to prospective employees as many fear doing so will raise doubts in the interviewer’s mind about their career ambitions. For firms who wish to compete for the best talent, the actions taken by the exemplar ‘Beacon’ organisations identified in our report provide a clear benchmark for the changes they can make to create a level playing field for all prospective employees who might want to work for them.

A lack of gender diversity presents a significant risk to fund performance and reputation. At the same time pressure from investors to invest in companies with a sound reputation for ESG exposes a firm’s own reputation to risk while their own record on diversity remains poor”.

Copies of the research are available to download here:

Geraldine will outline how to become a Beacon Employer at a webinar hosted by Bruin Financial on 10th December at 9.30.

Please contact nicole@executive-coaching.co.uk to be sent further details.

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