Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) have been part of Bridgewater's DNA throughout our 45-year history. Our core values — equity, reward based on merit, and the ability to be who you are — and our mission of seeking the best ideas in pursuit of the deepest understanding of global financial markets — naturally lead us to embrace diversity and treasure our differences. Those priorities have always made Bridgewater a place where anyone can find opportunity based on merit and outcomes.
We realized over time that we needed to engage in new practices in order to advance D&I as a first-order priority. Some of those efforts have been structural: We established a full-time D&I team equipped with substantial resources; opened the aperture in hiring to connect with more women and minorities, overhauled our benefits and policies (including pay-equity audits), set up metrics across the employee lifecycle; and expanded our engagement with our own clients on these subjects. Other updates have been programmatic: We established vibrant employee affinity networks, formed external partnerships with groups such as Power to Fly and Management Leaders for Tomorrow, and set up ongoing training and opportunities to foster dialogue. The common thread through these initiatives has been our commitment to build diverse teams of the best talent and create an environment where women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups feel equally enabled to advance and succeed.
In terms of the outcomes so far, statistics never tell the full story, though they are an important point of reference. We seek to benchmark ourselves in a variety of ways — including external certifications that measure the quality of our workplace for diverse talent, such as the Corporate Equality Index. Our long-term aspiration is to reach critical mass, where women, minorities and other underrepresented groups12 are well-represented in every position of influence within our firm. Our numbers3 indicate we are in the middle of our journey: they represent significant progress but are not good enough.
- Overall Representation: Bridgewater is 37% women and 25% minorities — 3% Black/African American, 7% Hispanic/Latinx, 14% Asian, 2% other minority groups. 53% of the firm is either a woman or a minority (47% are white men).
- Senior and Investor Representation: Women hold 19% of senior4 positions and 18% of senior investor positions. Minorities hold 20% of senior positions and 14% of senior investor positions.
- Internship Representation: In the last few years, 40-50% of all offers coming out of our internship program have gone to women and 20-30% have gone to minorities.5
- Hiring/Attrition: Over the last 12 months, inflows of women and minorities have been positive. Women represent 41% of hires and 40% of exits; minorities represent 36% of hires and 31% of exits.
- Pay Equity: As of December 2019, women earn 98.8% of male employees’ compensation, minorities earn 99.6% of white employees’ compensation.6
- Firm-Level Certification: We hold a top score (100) from the Corporate Equality Index as a Top Workplace for LGBTQ+ Talent.
1 Minority; those who identify as Black/African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Asian Pacific Islander, Two or More Races.
2 LGBTQ representation is also a priority. We are working on gathering this data for our employee population.
3 This data is as of June 2020 unless otherwise noted.
4 We define “senior” based on a compensation threshold as we believe it is the best proxy for responsibility and influence in a career.
5 The internship program is the most important feeder for our entry-level roles.
6 Our analysis confirms the differences are not statistically significant.
Detailed Summary of Efforts Underway
The following is a more comprehensive summary of Bridgewater’s efforts to hire and advance women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups. Some of it goes to the heart of how Bridgewater has always been set up — flat, non-hierarchal, focused on potential and abilities versus present skills. Some of it is more recent and focused on specific diversity and inclusion programs. We share this in the spirit of providing a window into what our firm is like and how we have invested our resources to live out our values. We have made real progress against our goals but have a lot left to do, especially in increasing representation at the senior levels, better understanding the drivers of inclusion, and adapting our approach for the post-pandemic world.
Opening the Aperture in Hiring: We have sourcing strategies to connect with more female and minority talent — including strategic partnerships, sponsorships, and immersion programs, as well as initiatives to ensure the fairness of our assessment processes, such as structured interviews and training. We have also invested tens of millions of dollars and significant resources in a multi-year curriculum to develop world-class investors for those without prior investing experience. This approach seeks out raw talent and potential and is critical for getting women and minorities into some of our best jobs — because even in today’s society, they are still less likely than white male peers to be encouraged to pursue investing, and can be excluded from industry jobs that require such experience. We see the benefits at the beginning of our pipelines — job offers coming out of our internship for entry roles are 40-50% women, 20-30% minorities, while overall hiring over the last 12 months has been 41% women and 36% minorities. Today current senior investor representation is 18% women and 14% minorities, still insufficient, but growing as those in the junior ranks rise.
Advancing Rapidly in Line with Abilities: The value we place on abilities also drives our advancement structures. Other firms have a series of defined promotion steps (e.g. from Analyst to Associate) within a set career path. Bridgewater is deliberately set up in a flatter and non-hierarchal structure. There is no requirement to spend set time in a given role, and employees are encouraged to advance between functions. This structure allows women and minorities to more quickly rise into positions of power and influence. Today women and minorities hold 19% and 20%, respectively, of our most senior roles, and as the next generation rises, we expect those numbers to increase. Erin Miles, who joined in 2010 out of undergrad, is one example of what’s possible. Based on her outcomes, she leapfrogged more senior and tenured employees, and by 2019 she was Co-Head of Equities and named to 50 Leading Women in Hedge Funds. Erin is by no means an outlier in terms of success and advancement. Alan Bowser is Co-Head of the Americas Region and was named to the Top 100 Ethnic Minority Executives List. Karen Karniol-Tambour is Director of Investment Research and was named to Fortune’s 40 Under 40 List and to 50 Leading Women in Hedge Funds. Rebecca Patterson is Director of Investment Research and has been named six years in a row to the Most Powerful Women in Finance List.
Creating Space and Speaking Up in the Workplace: We have a culture that has always valued speaking up, and we never assume doing so is easy. Our focus is on understanding the potential obstacles, some of which can impact women and minorities disproportionately based on previous norms and experiences. We have four employee affinity networks open to every member of the firm — a Women’s Network, a Black Network, Hispanic Network and a LGBTQ+ Network — to help build connections and stimulate dialogue. We also offer required bias mitigation training for all employees, and a speaker/trainer series that features D&I issues in the workplace. Finally, we have automated tools and surveys that facilitate the process of sharing feedback and ideas (e.g. in meetings you can enter thoughts in an app so others can know what you think even if you prefer not to interject live). We are particularly focused on ramping up our measurement of inclusion in our environment so we can identify gaps and create solutions. All of these levers reflect the value we place on employees who are willing to say what they think, but also our commitment to ensure that doing so is equitable. In our view an environment where only the loudest or most confident voices get heard is inconsistent with meritocracy.
Ensuring Fair Compensation: Equitable rewards are a cornerstone of our efforts to ensure a fair environment and retain the best talent. We employ a full-time team within our talent organization to construct objective compensation logic, and we audit that work via processes overseen by executives outside the talent management chain in partnership with external parties and with the input of legal counsel. Based on an independent third-party review of Bridgewater’s 2019 compensation data, women make 98.8 cents for every dollar men make, and minorities make 99.6 cents for every dollar white employees make. While it is still atypical to disclose such results publicly, we do so as part our commitment to continue to monitor and close the gap.
Enhancing Employee Benefits: We have also overhauled our benefits to better support women and underrepresented groups; as a result, we now offer fully paid parental leave; egg freezing, IVF, and adoption coverage; state-of-the-art mothers’ rooms and breastfeeding support; and fully paid coverage for gender transitions. We have implemented broader offerings as well, including: world-class medical insurance, work flexibility, a 401(k) match of $15,000, the ability to return part-time after leave, and backup childcare. These are available to all, though the research shows that women and underrepresented groups bear more of the burden in integrating work and family life. We don’t accept the underlying inequities, but we are hyperaware of the realities that women and minorities face, and try to tailor our approach accordingly.