Although 95% of respondents said their workplaces advocate for gender diversity, 66% of female surveyed noted they still feel uncomfortable to speak up about gender discrimination in their own workplace, according to the report that surveyed at least 3,000 investment professionals in the region.
Respondents in South Korea (66%) were the most reluctant to discuss gender inequality, followed by Hong Kong (44%), Singapore (43%) and mainland China (41%). Additionally, 70% of respondents of both genders believe women still face pressure to “dress and look the part” in the industry.
Survey findings also show that 44% of the respondents in Asia-Pacific indicated that they heard of instances of gender discrimination in the workplace and 30% witnessed instances of gender discrimination. A small percentage (13%) claimed that they switched jobs because of gender discrimination.
The industry, nevertheless, remains optimistic. Around half to the survey respondents (51%) said they believe that gender equality can be achieved in the next decade. Investment professionals in India (72%) and mainland China (60%) are the most optimistic of achieving gender equality in 10 years, while a minority, though still sizable group, in Singapore (44%) and South Korea (37%) see equality as a realistic goal in a decade.
In addition, 74% of respondents said gender-balance in the workplace not only improves team performance, but sends a strong message to employees, customers, investors, and the public.
“Progress towards eliminating discrimination and achieving gender equality is vitally important for the future of the investment industry,” Karyn McLean, CFA, head of marketing and communications in Asia Pacific at CFA Institute, said in the survey.
“Diversity in the workplace enables the industry to tap into a much larger talent pool and gives voice to a wider range of perspectives and insights. A more inclusive work environment facilitates better team performance, allows for more effective decision making, including robust internal debates, and deliver better business outcomes,” McLean added.
Respondents included junior- through senior-level investment professionals with a ratio of 40% male and 60% female. Surveyed markets included Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, South Korea and Singapore.