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Seitz Partners Q&A - This Week's Focus: Gender Breakdown in Product Roles, Including Product

Q: What percentage of the product population – comprised of those in product management, product development and product strategy (or combinations thereof) – are women?

A: According to a review of over 470 U.S.-based product professionals, at all levels of seniority, Seitz Partners’ research revealed that 30% of professionals in the function are women. At the leadership level, defined as those responsible for running the function, only 23% are women.

We are seeing an uptick in female hires across product functions. Over the past 12 months, 44% of all professionals hired/promoted into product roles were women. For product leadership roles, women accounted for 41% of hires and promotions in the last year, up from 26% two years ago. Both are steps in the right direction.

The Breakdown: External Hires vs. Internal Promotions

Interestingly, over the last three years, firms have tended to promote from within for top product leadership roles, rather than hire from the outside. 59% of new product leaders moved via promotion over the last 12 months, compared with 63% and 52% over the prior two and three years, respectively.

Among those promoted into product leadership roles, the percentage of women has decreased slightly year-over-year, with women accounting for 40% of promotions three years ago, 33% two years ago and 30% over the last 12 months.

By contrast, women represent 57% of new product leadership hired from outside the firm over the last 12 months, up from 14% the two years prior.

Key Takeaways

Product strategy professionals, especially those in leadership roles, were increasingly in the spotlight in 2019 as many firms focused on maintaining/improving the relevancy of their investment strategy lineups relative to client portfolio needs.

Expect to see even more focus on this function as firms deal with the challenges of the current market and attempt to predict, and prepare for, what will happen on the other side of this crisis.

If trends continue, we’ll see more women in product roles at all levels, especially at the top of the house.

About Seitz Partners

Seitz Partners is a retained executive search firm dedicated to serving clients in the asset and wealth management industries. We deliver unparalleled access to talent and unrivaled market insight to our clients. For more information, please contact:

Christopher Seitz, Managing Partner

© 2020 Seitz Partners. All Rights Reserved.

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