Kate Madden, Investment Manager, OneVentures, who was born and educated in Ireland, started her working life as an accountant in the wake of the global financial crisis, with the view it was a career that would weather economic cycles. A secondment to a global investment company piqued her interest in the private capital markets.
After moving to Australia, Madden secured a role with OneVentures, where she says mentors have played a vital role in supporting her career development. “I quickly realised the smaller the firm or team, the better the mentorship.” She says a flatter organisation gives much better opportunities for to watch the senior leadership team at work.
“A focus on diversity is essential if you want to compete in an environment in which there is a substantial talent shortage, which is only expected to intensify.”
Unbiased HR processes, including transparency around pay and incentives, will assist in achieving this aim. Robust parental leave policies, including the normalisation of men taking parental leave, will also encourage more women to stay employed in private capital markets.
Evolving criteria for bonuses is also critical. Rather than having KPIs solely focused on job performance, there’s an opportunity to incorporate a firm member’s contribution to company culture in the way their performance is measured.
“Making a contribution to a firm’s diversity and inclusion record can be a form of unpaid work. I do it because I love it and it's important to me. But if businesses want to reap the benefits of diversity and enjoy kudos for what they do, they need to pay people accordingly,” says Kate Madden, Investment Manager, OneVentures.
“Mentoring and educating the industry about the importance of diversity and inclusion should be valued. If it's free work, it makes it seem less important, akin to ‘pink washing’. Paying people for their contribution to this area demonstrates it is of real value,” she adds.
The role of leaders
The only way to equalise the number of men and women working in private capital is through action. It’s critical to understand change is in managers’ hands because they have the power to set policies, develop programs to support female staff members’ career development and pay them equally.
To Madden’s point, people who take action to support women to choose and stay in careers in private capital such as mentoring should be properly recognised. This could start by reviewing KPIs so they incorporate contribution to company culture in addition someone’s contribution to financial performance. Specifically, KPIs must acknowledge staff members’ contribution to developing and implementing the firm’s diversity and inclusion strategy and flexible working policy.