Women in Financial Services Blog

The challenge of taking a break

The challenge of taking a break

Mark.Freed / 04 Dec 2019

One of the most important things in fund management, from a manager’s perspective at least, is their investment record.

Analysts, and many investors, like to see long fund tenures without interruptions, but this works against anyone who takes a career break. For many years, this would have mainly affected women who left to start a family, but more men are now taking breaks for their families as well – or even going on sabbatical.

While a cynic might suggest that there is a greater awareness of this problem, and companies are taking more steps to combat it, because it’s now affecting men as well as women; I like to think that it’s down to companies taking diversity more seriously.

After all, as obstacles go, it should be possible to resolve by getting everyone to work together so it's good to see group of leading names are working together with the Diversity Project to develop guidelines.

These include focusing on the team element of management, not putting too much weight on tenure and not over-reacting to a manager leaving.

I also believe it’s a positive sign that men are facing challenges women have had to deal with for years, as it’s much easier to understand something when you go through it yourself. This doesn’t just apply to taking leave, but in how the company responds when you return.

It’s noticeable that proactive companies are already seeing an opportunity to lead the way in this area by offering more generous parental leave. This seems likely to help them retain, and potentially attract, the best staff.

 

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