media release 


4 August 2023   


HESTA survey of gender diversity in investment management indicates encouraging progress, but more action needed


The latest Gender Diversity in Investment Management 2022 progress report by HESTA showcases an upward trajectory in women's representation within its managers, although more action is needed.


According to the biennial survey, women account for 24 per cent of the investment management workforce among HESTA’s external investment managers, marking an increase from 22 per cent in 2020 and 17 per cent in 2018.


HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said the latest findings demonstrate a positive trend towards achieving greater gender parity and inclusivity in investment management. However, further efforts are needed to continue improving representation.


“There is extensive research showing how organisations benefit from improving diversity in a range of ways from better decision making, more diversity of thought, greater innovation and ultimately enhanced financial performance,” Ms Blakey said.


“That is why we strongly advocate for greater gender diversity among our investment managers, helping invest our members’ retirement savings. We understand and share the challenges of improving the under representation of women in the funds’ management industry. For real change to happen, investment leaders must prioritise this, as it can also help deliver a performance edge.”


Since 2018, the $74 billion industry super fund has biennially surveyed its domestic and international investment managers about their workforce gender diversity as part of a broader program to track diversity across HESTA’s investment value chain.


The survey indicates that women filled 25 per cent of investment team roles at unlisted managers, a slight increase from 24 per cent in 2020.


Listed managers saw a notable improvement, with women's representation in investment team roles rising from 17 per cent in 2020 to 22 per cent in 2022.


The report also underscores the positive trend of increased representation of women across various role categories.


Among listed managers, the most notable improvements were observed in Chief Investment Officer (CIO) roles, which saw an increase to 25 per cent of roles being occupied by women in 2022. There were previously no women in CIO roles in 2018 or 2020. Women also filled 25 per cent of roles in Investment Committees, up from 14 per cent in 2020. Listed managers saw improvements across various roles in their teams, with 20 per cent of Portfolio Managers (or equivalent) positions occupied by women (up from 14 per cent in 2020), Senior Investment Analysts (23 per cent, up from 18 per cent), and Investment Analysts (27 per cent up from 23 per cent).


For unlisted managers, the survey found a rise in women's representation at the partner (or equivalent) level to 13 per cent from 10 per cent in 2020 and 2018. Women also filled 18 per cent of Investment Committee roles, up from 11 per cent in 2020. Managing Directors (or equivalent) (20 per cent in 2020, down to 13 per cent in 2022) and Vice Presidents/Directors (or equivalent) (30 per cent, down to 28 per cent) saw a reduction in the percentage of women's roles. Senior Investment Analysts saw the strongest improvement, up from 24 per cent of these roles filled by women in 2020 to 33 per cent in 2022, and Investment Analyst (from 29 per cent up to 31 per cent).


The survey also collected information on some of the drivers of workplace equality, including flexible work offerings and uptake, the gender pay gap, recruitment and promotion practices and workplace sexual harassment. The report made recommendations relating to improvement opportunities in each of these areas.


While encouraging progress has been made, HESTA Chief Investment Officer Sonya Sawtell-Rickson said there was still work to be done to achieve gender parity across all levels of seniority.


“The report highlights that the percentage of women in roles across different levels of seniority falls below the desired 40:40:20 ratio, which aims for 40 per cent women, 40 per cent men, and 20 per cent any gender,” Ms Sawtell-Rickson said.


“With that objective in mind, there is a long way to go to achieving gender balance in the investment management sector.”


HESTA has set an internal target for our investment management team of 40:40:20 by 2030; currently, women comprise 42 per cent of this team.


The latest survey showed the Fund’s investment team continues to have a strong representation of women at the most senior levels. At the time of survey, women occupied the CIO role, 67 per cent of the Investment Committee, and 50 per cent of Head of Investment Management roles.


However, gender diversity at General Manager (13 per cent, up from 0 per cent in 2020) and Investment Manager (14 per cent, down from 38 per cent) levels remains a challenge and a focus. To help address this, a new role of ‘Associate Investment Manager’ was introduced to create pathways to progress from Senior Investment Analyst to Investment Manager, with 43 per cent of those Associate Investment Manager roles currently occupied by women.


HESTA also launched a mentoring program, with 71 per cent of mentee participants in the investment team being women.


HESTA has achieved gender parity across the other roles in the team, with women comprising 45 per cent of Senior Investment Analyst roles, up from 44 per cent in 2020, and half of Investment Analyst roles, down from 56 per cent.


“We want to capture for our members the benefits of diversity. So, we continue to focus on how we can improve gender diversity right across our investment value chain, from the companies we invest in, to our investment partners and our own team,” Ms Sawtell-Rickson said.


To address greater gender diversity in investment management, HESTA has urged its investment partners to take bold actions.


The report outlines recommendations, including setting time-bound composition targets for gender diversity, conducting regular gender pay-gap analysis, implementing inclusive recruitment and promotion practices to remove barriers to career progression, and encouraging the uptake of flexible work by employees of all genders.






Media contact:

Sam Riley

General Manager Media Relations

(03) 8660 1684


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