To mark International Women’s Day, Preqin analyzes female representation at hedge funds worldwide and what progress has been made since 2017.
Women account for 19.3% of hedge fund employees*, up slightly from 18.6% in 2017. Although an increase of less than one percentage point cannot be described as radical change, it does represent in improvement in the number of women being employed in the industry over the past 18 months.
At junior level, women account for 29% of employees at hedge funds, but this drops to 23% for mid-level positions and 11% for senior employees. COO and CFO are the most prevalent roles among senior female employees at hedge funds – with 18% of each of these positions held by women – whereas only 4% of manager partners, chairpersons and CIOs are women.
Women are far more likely to be employed in investor relations/marketing roles at hedge funds, accounting for 48% of employees in these roles, than roles within the investment team (13%) or within portfolio management (10%). Across all role functions, female representation decreases as roles grow more senior, but it is particularly poor in portfolio management positions, where just 4% of senior employees are women.
Hedge fund managers based in Asia have the best rate of female representation at 21%, while for North America-based firms it is 19%, followed by Europe- and Rest of World-based firms at 18% each. At junior level, almost a third (31%) of employees at Asia-based firms are women, although this drops to 14% of employees at senior level. Hong Kong-based firms have the greatest representation of women at senior level among major hubs at 18%, followed by the UK (12%) and the US and Australia (each 11%). At the other end of the scale, just 6.7% of senior roles at hedge funds in Sweden are held by women.
While there has been some progress made in female representation at hedge funds, women still only account for one in five employees. What is particularly noticeable is that in all role functions – even in roles where women are best represented – female representation decreases among senior roles compared to junior ones, suggesting that women are not progressing at the same rate as men. While it is encouraging to see some progress in recent months, there is still a long way to go for female representation in the industry.
*These figures are based on analysis of more than 280,000 industry professionals on Preqin’s database, including 63,000 hedge fund professionals. For more detailed analysis of these figures by role, seniority and location, please take a look at our recently released factsheet.