People: Our greatest asset

The old adage that advises against putting all our eggs in one basket has played out strongly in the investment world over recent years, evidenced through the frequency of multi-asset fund launches.

Diversification is a strength and investors know this. So how is it, then, that the age-old wisdom of having too many eggs in one bag has only very recently started to become applicable to how investors see boardroom and workforce composition?

To be clear, we are speaking now of ‘diversity’ rather than diversification.

Research by Linked In is showing that women are achieving director status faster than their male counterparts (9.8 years and 10.9 years, respectively, after leaving university).

However, the percentage of females in leadership roles (director level and above) shows quite some variance.

The Lens is pleased to report, though, that here in Britain, with the introduction of the 30% Club, the share of female directors at FTSE 100 companies has risen from 12.5% in 2010 to 30.6% today. (Source: The Economist).

Critics might argue this may be a very narrow measure of gender diversity and could be down to some firms paying lip-service to the idea by having inclusion policies.

A few weeks ago, The Lens attended an event where this and other diversity issues were debated openly. Topics, raised at grass-roots level, included: paternity leave; ‘returnships’ for mothers coming back to work; hiring school leavers without a degree; and looking at how introverts – as much a part of workforces as extroverts are – could feel more empowered to get their messages across.

The Lens notes that, based on visits to asset managers over recent months, it is apparent that diversity and inclusion is a hot topic now. Several companies have a member of staff dedicated to this role.

Diversification of investments is all good and proper, but let’s not forget another adage about our businesses: it’s the one about people being our greatest asset of all.