Ling Capital drives toward increased female board members

Top Quote Ling Capital today announced it wants to hire more women into senior positions and is trying to lure female alumni back into the fold. The move follows similar initiatives by other firms as employers try to find more women who could fill high-ranking positions. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) November 10, 2015 - Organisations have very much bettered their male to female ratio at the lowest and highest positions, but face a challenge retaining female employees in the prime of their profession, when many have children.

    Businesses have structured their graduate recruitment programmes to ensure they hire equal number of men and women at initial employment stage, and there has been an impetus to get more women onto the board of directors. There is an increasing awareness, however, that more needs to be done to improve the number of women who are heading towards the directors' chambers.

    There is a high dropout rate around the level of vice-president - the step before managing director at Ling Capital - with women citing a lack of female role models, high childcare costs and slower career advancement as key motives for leaving. And for women who took a sabbatical to start a family, a lack of confidence can also be a deterrent.

    Alexander Stanton, Portfolio Manager at Ling Capital, said "We're doing a fine job of employing women at graduate level, but we want to hire more female vice-presidents and managing directors. It's a historic issue as years ago when these women were hired as graduates, there wasn't an even split."

    Encouraging women back to senior roles at Ling Capital was high up on the agenda at a recent dinner where the firm entertained a group of female alumni who have gone on to do a range of things.

    Ms. Elizabeth Law, board member at the Equal Opportunities Commission in Japan, said: "We now have abundant evidence that senior role models are vital in keeping women motivated and progressing in their careers within a company."

    She said utilising alumni was a clever move because Ling will have the knowledge of how these women applied their talents in the workplace, while the women will be familiar with the firm's culture.

    Some other banks have similar initiatives. Bank of America has run a returning talent programme in the UK since 2012, which targets men and women, not just alumni, who have been out of the workplace for three or more years to care for a family member.
    "It's a great idea to encourage female alumni back to their old employer," said Andrew Knight, Senior Portfolio Manager for Ling Capital, who recently set up a board to promote, retain and attract top talent within the firm. "Companies that truly value diversity, and ensure they have a culture that supports and nurtures the success of women will be big winners."

    Credit Suisse last year launched a "real returns" programme to help employees re-enter work after a few years of absence. Morgan Stanley set up a return to work programme in New York in 2013 and launched it in London in 2014, targeting men and women, both alumni and non-alumni.

    Deutsche Bank is also looking at launching an initiative to lure senior female alumni back to the bank.

    The number of women on the boards of the UK's biggest companies, for example, is at an all-time high, but there is still nowhere near gender parity. As of this January 2015, women held 23 per cent of FTSE 100 boardroom seats, nudging towards the government's target of 25 per cent by 2016.

    The 30 per cent Club, whose initial crusade was to get more women on boards, has now turned its attention to the next generation. It is targeting young women in an effort to stop talented candidates dropping out of work before they reach board level.

    Evidence suggests that there is a high risk of women failing to achieve the same rate of promotion as men with similar qualifications. This is particularly true in the "danger zone" aged between 28 and 38, a period in which many women take time from work to have children, and a pivotal point of career divergence among their male counterparts.

    Tech giants Facebook and Apple attracted controversy last year when they said they were going to start offering egg freezing to employees who wanted to delay having children. Other organisations have not yet gone down that route to attract female talent.
    However, Ling Capital covers the cost of freezing a female employee's eggs when it is deemed medically necessary - for example, if treatment for cancer could cause infertility. And JPMorgan is the first big bank to cover the cost of sex change operations for staff and partners.

    Ling Capital is an asset management firm based in Tokyo, Japan, and has been operating its private client division since 2011. For any further information regarding this article or Ling Capital in general, please visit or email info ( @ ) lingcapital dot com. Alternatively, contact us on +(00)813-4520-9594.

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