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Jo Geraghty

Director

Diversity – A job for all seasons

Date added: 08th Jun 2016
Category: Culture of Diversity

My talents and my abilities may be very different from the skills which you can bring to an organisation but by combining those talents, by drawing on each other strengths, together we have the potential to create something which is greater than either of us could achieve our own

“We know that our greatness comes when we appreciate each other’s strengths, when we learn from each other, when we lean on each other.”

These words from America’s First Lady, Michelle Obama, may have been addressed to graduates at the City College of New York but they could equally apply to business and social settings across any country and across any sector. When we talk about equality and diversity and inclusion it can be all too easy to become bound up in the statistics, trying to impose some sort of arbitrary quota rather than helping people to make the most of their strengths.

What I can bring to an organisation at 20 may be very different to what I can offer at 40 or 60 or any other age. And my talents and my abilities may be very different from the skills which you can bring to an organisation but by combining those talents, by drawing on each other strengths, together we have the potential to create something which is greater than either of us could achieve our own. So true equality comes from enabling people to make the most of their talents at any stage in their career and the push for diversity at heart opens up the potential for people to maximise their opportunities in any sector.

Following this theme, it was interesting therefore to see a report in Citywire money which revealed that just 10% of the world’s fund managers are women. The picture is in fact very mixed across the globe with 27% female representation in Spain against just 6% in Germany and 9% in the UK. One interesting observation to arise from this report was that women fund managers did better than men on a ‘risk-adjusted’ basis but that male fund managers tended to dominate the top and the bottom of the charts. With the top performing funds tending to gather the greatest publicity this could lead to the perception of fund management being a male dominated industry and therefore dissuade women from seeking fund management as a career path.

Following publication of the report, various industry leaders have commented about the importance of diversity in reflecting the wider society, in attracting the maximum number of talented individuals, in delivering better client outcomes and in delivering more stable returns which meet long-term client needs.

These are comments which could equally apply in a number of business sectors which are perhaps less diverse than would be ideal. They are also comments which don’t simply refer to gender diversity, but also could be applied to age, experience, background or any other type of diversity. As Michelle Obama said diversity is “a resource to be tapped” and we can all play our part in helping others to make the most of their talents.

 

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