Nicsa's Annual DEI Perception Study

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The asset management industry is on the clock to drive meaningful, targeted actions that will advance the current landscape of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). This 2021 study explores insights on the perception of progress in the asset management industry, and presents action items on how to advance DEI within organizations.

Download the 2021 Study

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  • On the Clock
    Advancing DEI in the Asset Management Industry

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Press Release

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Key Takeaways

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Action Items

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About the Study

  • Nicsa joined forces with EY, a member of Nicsa’s Diversity Project North America, to bring the 2021 DEI Perception Survey and Study to the asset management industry.
  • The survey measured perceptions across DEI themes such as leadership; workforce; metrics and performance; talent, hiring, and work environment; training, mentorship, and sponsorship; and DEI response and commitment.
  • Approximately 1,200 respondents representing a diverse set of firms and organization types within the asset management industry participated in the survey.
  • Thirty-four business, HR, and DEI leaders from 22 of Nicsa’s Diversity Project North America member firms participated in a series of roundtable sessions to share insights on the perceptions captured in the survey data.
  • Quantitative data from survey responses, as well as qualitative information gathered during interactive round tables, were used to inform the 2021 DEI Perception Study, the results of which are intended to shape the industry’s responses and approaches to, and adaptation of, DEI issues in the near term.

Watch the recording of our On the Clock webinar, featuring key insights and an overview of the Study.

2020 vs 2021

View the 2020 report here. Thematic year-over-year trend analysis uncovered the following changes in individuals’ perceptions (go here for a more detailed overview):

  • SUCCESS IN ADVANCING DEI IS UNDER MORE SCRUTINY, with more respondents perceiving the asset management industry as lagging.
  • FIRM REPUTATIONS HAVE WORSENED, with the bulk of 2021 respondents describing their firm’s reputation as "average."
  • DIVERSE LEADERSHIP REMAINS CRITICAL TO BUSINESS SUCCESS, with most respondents indicating that it is "very important" or "important." However, male and white respondents lagged their female and non-white racially and ethnically diverse counterparts in perceptions of importance.
  • WORKFORCE DIVERSITY REMAINS IMPACTFUL TO PERFORMANCE, with a high level of this year’s and last year’s participants expressing that team diversity positively impacts organizational performance.
  • OPPORTUNITIES FOR MENTORSHIP AND SPONSORSHIP HAVE IMPROVED, though there remains room for improvement on awareness about such opportunities. A larger portion of Black or African American, LGBTQ+, and neurodiverse respondents believe that they have no opportunities at all to be a mentor.
  • COMMITMENT TO PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT HAS WORSENED, with only a third of 2021 respondents acknowledging successful development opportunities for diverse employees.
  • “SAFE ENVIRONMENTS” ARE ON THE RISE, with most 2021 respondents feeling that firms are committed to creating an environment of belonging and trust, however, certain demographic segments believe that their organizations are significantly less committed.
  • IMPACT OF ERGS, COUNCILS AND PROGRAMS REMAIN HIGH, but access to and awareness of these programs are lacking.
  • SUCCESS AT SOURCING DIVERSE CANDIDATES FOR LEADERSHIP HAS WORSENED, with most 2021 respondents sensing that organizations are not successfully tapping diverse candidate pools to fill leadership roles.