Money managers need to cultivate talent from different backgrounds at entry-level and throughout employees' careers if they are to develop a strong pipeline of diverse, senior staff.
But attracting entry-level candidates will take extra effort from managers seeking to improve their firm's diversity. Firms can achieve a more diverse workforce by opening up their recruitment sources and criteria to candidates with new and different university degrees, as well as considering candidates from universities that may be considered a lower tier, sources said.
"Very often when you speak to students they have a perception of our industry being quite elitist," said Lindsay Hudson, head of inclusion and diversity at Aegon Asset Management in London. She said firms should try to reverse the trend of employees falling into the industry by chance or learning about it from a family member. Ms. Hudson said that Aegon is going to high schools and showcasing different opportunities in the money management industry to students before they start their careers.
Firms need to cast a wider net when it comes to the capabilities and experience of candidates they are willing to consider for roles, rather than setting very specific criteria, in order to bring a more diverse set of employees into the workforce.
"With every criteria that you lay on, you narrow down the pool of applicants," she said.
The firm is also paying attention to "contextualized recruitment," meaning focusing on students from preparatory schools serving lower-income students and not just private school students who later graduate from top universities.
Laura Chappell, CEO at Brunel Pension Partnership Ltd., Bristol, England, said of the pool's own recruitment efforts that it is quite difficult to get suitable candidates from ethnic minority backgrounds. "If we can't find candidates at the level that we want (it's) because people aren't coming to our industry," she said, adding that organizations should grow graduates from the bottom.
Brunel is working on a more targeted recruitment strategy beyond efforts such as creating more inclusive job descriptions, by looking to focus on apprenticeships, internships and vocational programs to attract candidates from ethnic minority backgrounds. "To be honest it is (about) the right skill set and the right attitude rather than technical qualification. The world is changing and moving on," she said.