Study looks at pay, headcount and gender balance at SRI firms

Survey from recruitment firm

Recruitment firm Sorensen Bennecker has published a survey of compensation, headcount and gender balance within the sustainable and responsible investment (SRI) sector.

One of the findings is that there’s “room for improvement” in terms of gender diversification at board and executive level within UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) signatory asset managers.

The firm surveyed more than 300 industry participants between July and October last year, based on members of industry associations including the US Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, UKSIF, the sustainable investment and finance association, Canada’s Social Investment Organisation (SIO) and SRI-Connect.

The findings have been published in the firm’s 2011 SRI Human Capital Report: Industry Commentary and Compensation Survey

“When examining gender diversification at board and executive level within UNPRI member asset managers we found room for improvement,” the report states.

Most respondents were in North America and the UK, with 82% of them working within specialist SRI research and investment firms, with the remaining 18% part of a dedicated SRI team at a ‘conventional’ firm. The survey response rate was 52% female and 46% male.

“While growth in AuM [assets under management] does not translate into a proportionate growth in human capital requirements over the long term, we believe recent growth in SRI AuM has played a significant role in short term headcount growth.”The study found that SRI teams within asset managers, asset owners, and research organisations had grown significantly worldwide in the last three years, although the research was conducted before the recent upheaval in SRI teams at firms like Aviva Investors and Henderson Global Investors.

“Fifty-nine percent of our respondents worldwide reported growth, with 29% of all respondents claiming their SRI teams had increased more than 25% during the last three years,” Sorensen Bennecker said, adding that only 14% of respondents reported a decrease in team size.

“These bullish figures reflect, to a degree, the overall worldwide SRI asset growth, experienced particularly within the last three years,” the report stated.

On pay, the survey found that a US CIO at an SRI asset owner would expect a base salary in the $250,000-$300,000 range, with bonuses taking it to $375,000+. A head of investing at an SRI institutional asset owner would expect a $300,000-350,000 salary.

In the UK, an SRI portfolio manager would command a salary of £100,000-£125,000, with a bonus taking pay to £350,000.

Sorensen Bennecker reckons the number of women in the SRI sector “far exceeds” those in ‘conventional’ asset management – and that the industry’s gender balance resembles the nonprofit sector.

“We believe female professionals are pursuing careers in the SRI sector for many of the same reasons that they might choose careers within the nonprofit sector,” the report says.