Progression to partner: does your background matter?

The Bridge Group have been researching the route to partnership for 5 years. They looked at a quarter of a million data points and conducted 60 hours of interviews.

They found that those from lower socio-economic and other minority backgrounds progress less quickly from senior associate to partner than peers from the dominant group.

There is a view among partners that partner recruitment processes are becoming more transparent. However, interviewees (and especially senior associates) also highlight a lack of transparency in how potential partners are identified and then “put forward” for this process.

'Furthermore, being put forward for the process, and succeeding in it, can place much emphasis on competencies not connected to job performance – but rather relating to social and cultural norms associated with the dominant culture.'

Their recommendations include:

  1. Lobby for socio-economic background to be a protected characteristic, enacting Section One of the Equality Act.

  2. Embed diversity and inclusion (with respect to socio-economic background and other characteristics) within leadership responsibilities and the firm’s performance review processes, and fund change.

  3. Introduce formal mentoring programmes for associates and senior associates to counterbalance unequal access to informal socio-cultural networks and senior sponsorship.

We at Private Goodness fully support these recommendations.

You can read the full report here.


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