An analysis of gender diversity in London-based Private Equity investment teams: 30 years of change


Diversity within the investing community is a frequently discussed topic, yet the analysis presented often remains too superficial for anything more than generating headlines.

Gender in PE

Droxford Partners


Our research partner, Tudor Research, looked at the London investment teams across 217 funds, including 121 private equity firms spanning lower mid-cap through to large-cap and 96 growth and VC oriented firms. This provided a talent pool of 3,340 professionals, 2,505 male and 834 female (75:25). 


  • Growth & VC funds showcase a greater level of gender diversity than their Private Equity counterparts, with female professionals accounting for 33% of investment teams, as opposed to 22% across PE as a whole.  
  • In a future post we will be discussing whether this is a function of fund age, typical candidate background, target investment universe and approach, or something else entirely.
  • Across PE there was a trend towards increased levels of diversity as funds grew in AUM and headcount; dividing across lower mid-cap, mid-cap and large cap yielded female representation of 17%, 23%, and 25% respectively.  Additionally, there is a moderate positive correlation (0.47) between the size of recent fundraises and the share of female investment professionals (data not shown). 
  • Several factors may influence this: larger funds being more focused on diversity, candidate preferences, LP considerations, or a combination of the above.  Again, we will be exploring this in a future post.


Gender Diversity by Strategy



  • As well as lagging significantly behind their mid-cap and large-cap peers in terms of average levels of representation, in the lower mid-cap space less than 1% of positions at director level or above are held by women.
  • Furthermore, 18 funds (from a sample of 66) were found to have entirely male investment teams. Whilst these are typically smaller teams with less frequent employee turnover, it suggests plenty of work is still to be done.


Gender breakdown by seniority



  • Overall, it’s impossible to ignore how things have changed with 30% of the current female investing population having been hired in the last 5 years (compared to 17% of their male counterparts). 
  • That said, the rate of change seems to have plateaued somewhat (or even dropped marginally over the last couple of years), with hiring splits beginning to trend back towards the distribution found across investment banking and management consulting, the two most common backgrounds for candidates entering the industry.