Launch Of Cross-Company Mentoring Scheme Promises To Continue To Battle To Eliminate The Gender & Ethnicity Pay Gaps

Print First published: October 4th 2021; Last Updated: February 3rd 2022

The 2021 Cross-Company Mentoring Scheme from Think Tank and advocacy group City Hive in collaboration with #TalkAboutBlack has now launched. This year, the programme has expanded to address both gender and ethnicity representation in the asset and investment management industry.

The scheme supports both mentees and mentors through a programme of professional development consisting of events, presentations and talks to support career progression. City Hive will also encourage mentors to complete a training programme on bias understanding and awareness from provider Wider Thinking, created in collaboration with City Hive’s Leadership team. The course focuses on the workplace, and offers practical suggestions and considerations aimed at helping mentors understand some of the challenges their mentee may face, whilst also reflecting on their own position in the workplace. 

Pairs have been matched from across different companies to foster more openness, and to ensure that the impact of the programme will be felt across the industry, rather than being limited to one or two firms.

Industry support this year has grown from four to nine companies, led by Impax and Federated Hermes. This vital funding and the inclusion and interest from men from ethnic minority backgrounds prompted over 260 applications. In response to this huge demand, City Hive connected with diversity and inclusion initiative, The Diversity Project, who stepped in to offer additional funding. This enabled City Hive to match 120 applicants into 60 mentor/mentee pairs, three times the amount of the inaugural programme.

All sponsors have acknowledged that their interest in supporting the scheme comes from a recognition that to achieve a diverse talent pipeline and truly address representation gaps, the industry needs to move beyond box ticking. Instead, there needs to be a commitment to supporting schemes that develop a strong, wider, and more diverse talent pool for the benefit of the entire industry.

City Hive CEO Bev Shah, “For too long the gender and ethnicity gaps have prevailed in our industry and it is the responsibility of all of us to take decisive steps to address it. Applications for the scheme came from over 80 different firms so clearly the demand for support is there. It’s a highly effective way to develop and retain staff, demonstrating to them and new joiners that you are invested in their careers. We are indebted to all our new sponsors who have come on board in 2021 and hope to have even more next year”.

Baroness Morrissey, Chair of the Diversity Project, “I’m a big believer in the power of cross-company mentoring; it offers mentees broader experience and advice than they might access through their own company. And mentors tell me time and again that the experience opens their eyes about the issues people experience that they might not feel able to talk about to their own employer or manager. I’m confident that this collaboration between City Hive and the Diversity Project will help many people – and in turn help us make faster progress towards a more diverse and inclusive industry.”

Ian Simm, Impax Founder and CEO, “We’re proud to support City Hive and #TalkAboutBlack and to offer our colleagues the chance to share their skills and learn new ones. Mentorship has an important role to play as we work together to shift our industry towards more accurately reflecting society. This scheme will build networks, break down barriers and exchange ideas which will benefit our sector as a whole.”

Vivienne Aiyela, Head of Inclusion at Federated Hermes, “Tackling structural issues such as the continuing gender and ethnicity gaps requires us to work together as an industry and not as individual firms in isolation from one another. Federated Hermes is delighted to be able to support City Hive and their 2021 Cross-Company Mentoring Scheme – we look forward to seeing the results of greater empowerment of existing diverse employees as well as attracting the brightest new talent to the asset management industry.”

About this year’s scheme

The scheme is open to candidates who consider themselves in the middle of the career pipeline from any job function within the asset and investment management industry – the only requirement was that the mentees were female identifying and/or from ethnic minority backgrounds, groups that are poorly represented within the industry

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