Women, Minorities Are Queuing Up to Leave Private Equity Firms

Private equity firms risk a wave of post-pandemic resignations from women and ethnic minorities.

A quarter of all women and a third of Black, Asian and minority ethnic industry professionals surveyed by Investec Plc said they wanted to leave their employer in the next 12 months.

While resignations across many industries are expected to surge in the wake of the pandemic, the discontent among specific demographic groups will be a blow to private equity. Already one of the most male-dominated sectors in finance, it still has a long way to go to attract a more diverse work force.

Investec surveyed 219 private equity professionals between April and June. Some 40% of respondents were U.K.-based, 31% from North America, 18% from mainland Europe and 11% from elsewhere.

“Covid has given people time to reflect on their whole life situation,” said Helen Lucas, co-head of Investec’s U.K. origination, growth and leveraged finance team, who helped conduct the survey. By contrast, just 13% of White and 16% of male respondents said they wanted to leave their current employer.

Concerns about the pay gap may be a factor that’s playing into their decision making. More than two thirds of female respondents said they believed they would be paid more for their job if they were male, up from 56% in last year’s survey. Just over a third of the ethnic minority professionals surveyed said they thought they would be paid better if they were white.

“Having transparency around the gender pay gap is still an important way to help tackle this challenge, but true change will come from building a more diverse leadership in the private equity industry,” Lucas said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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