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There Are No Women In Private Equity Who Want To Start Their Own Firm

Investec's 10th annual GP Trends Report says that no women in private equity report that they see starting their own firm as part of their future ambitions; literally zero respondents said that if they left their current firm that they would start their own. This compares to almost 15% of male respondents.

The gender pay gap could be part of the reason for this desire to move.

Three in five women believe that they would be paid more for doing the same job if they were male. This sentiment is highest amongst women below partner level at 75%, although 40% of women at partner level or equivalent also believe they are paid less than their male colleagues.

Lack of gender parity in pay could also be one of the reasons 21% of women claim to be more dissatisfied with their work in private equity compared to men, at just 8.2%.

The figures reflect lingering frustrations that women feel within the private equity sector, despite overall improvements seen in attitudes towards diversity and equal opportunities. 

Over two thirds of women (67.6%) report that they believe that their firm considers diversity to be an important issue - and nearly one in five (18.9%) strongly agree that equal opportunities are being prioritised by their businesses, a 10% increase in positive sentiment compared to 2018.

It is also supported by men within the space - 89.8% of male respondents either agree or strongly agree that firms are trying harder to bridge the gender gap at work. However, almost 20% of women still do not believe that their firms consider diversity and equal opportunities to be key in building a successful business with longevity.

Emily Cvijan, Investec Private Bank, commented:

“We all know it takes time to redress imbalances, which can be a challenge for such an established industry, but it is incredibly telling that the general partners considering going it alone are exclusively male. In previous years, we’ve seen some women consider starting their own firm, but this number has fallen and is somewhat disheartening. There are certainly signs of change emerging – for example, organisations like Level 20 driving positive change in this area, and tenures such as Cheryl Potter’s with the BVCA not only demonstrating the progress being made, but also providing women with much needed and very visible role models. However, our research shows there’s still extensive work to be done to ensure this goes even further. A key area to address remains transparency around the gender pay gap. This is something that’s absolutely essential if we’re going to keep more women in the sector. We need to ensure that more women feel that a successful career in private equity is accessible to them, and that they can build their own firm is they wish.


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