How to improve equity in mergers and acquisitions

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Despite current market conditions and the prospect of shrinking profits, some companies continue to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion, even in the wake of an economic downturn.

While this is encouraging news, it’s something we’ve really seen for a long time, especially when it comes to financial services and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Although much progress remains to be made, new evidence suggests a more equitable landscape is emerging. In The exponent of annual Exchange events, I have shared some of the following details showing the changes in M&A activities.

Diversity, equity and inclusion issues in M&A

Twenty-two percent of 600 global dealmakers Datasite surveyed reported that an agreement was broken last year due to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) issues discovered during due diligence. Some of those surveyed cited hiring, promotion, and retention policies as the biggest DEI risk to a transaction, followed by claims of sexual harassment. However, DEI is still not considered as big of a threat as other risks to an M&A, but new research shows how a company’s culture can affect both performance and price. its value.

DEI is important in the workplace

However, DEI is not only important in the context of an agreement. It is also important in the context of the workplace in which we all live day in and day out – whether in person or in person. Significant progress has been made in representing women in commercial transactions. Our newest survey44% of respondents identify as women, including 49% of millennials.


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Furthermore, according to our research, while both genders claim to be promoted equally, women are 5% more likely to be promoted and more likely to advance faster in their career leveling up. management compared to men. In addition, more women than men reported receiving a base pay increase of 16% or more last year, although the overall pay increase for men and women last year was still unevenly distributed. .

Work still to be done

However, that is not all good news. We also found that more women than men participating in M&A – 30% versus 26% respectively – are actively looking for other jobs. Between the competing factors of the Great Resignation and the M&A crunchy talent, these percentages can add up quickly. Our research also shows that man continues to dominate M&A at the senior management and executive levels. In addition, 40% or more of both sexes are not looking for a promotion because of concerns about workload and commuting.

Finally, children and childcare are the areas that deserve the most attention. Most M&A experts say they have children under the age of 18, of which 10% more men than women. What is particularly interesting, however, is that more than 50% of both men and women consider themselves the primary caregivers of children 18 years of age and younger. During the height of the pandemic, more women than men participating in M&A – and in many other companies and sectors – reported feeling consume as a result of doing more careful in their personal lives. Now, however, it appears that both genders are managing multiple responsibilities, something commercial organizations will want to consider as they seek to retain and nurture talent.

What else can agreement organizations do to create and support greater equality, both in the context of the agreement and the workplace? Here are a few ideas:

Encourage men to use family-friendly benefits

Organizations need to encourage men to take advantage of family-friendly policies, including parental leave. Even when it is offered, men are less likely to use parental leave because of financial costs, gender expectations, or fear that it could affect their careers. However, research shows that men taking parental leave have physical, emotional, and financial benefits, including that they are more likely to be equal partners in parenting.


Global dealmakers say they are uncertain about how to present alliances with people from diverse backgrounds, with 20% cites fear of the proper way to engage as the biggest factor holding them back. To find, nurture and enhance M&A talent, managers need to support educational efforts on why integration is important and how to be an ally. For example, we have created a learning-oriented culture that fosters openness, empathy, curiosity and adaptability, which improves diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Our DEI Council is a cross-functional, employee-led global team that drives DEI across the company. By including employees in this effort, we hope to create a shared responsibility in further promoting a culture where every employee can give their best to work every day and provide a space for employees to learn from each other, which promotes greater cooperation and understanding and belonging.

Increased flexibility

The pandemic has shown us that many activities can be done remotely. We’ve seen this from an organization’s perspective and through our clients. Of course, there are parts of deal trading that benefit from face-to-face meetings, especially when it comes to cultivating new relationships, but virtual trading works well.

Start the female genius club

Treat female colleagues as ‘genius’. The thought behind this is that calling a female colleague a genius at getting through conversations and discussions helps build credibility and elevate them. Just consider how effective portraying a female colleague as a genius might be the next time she’s considered for a task, job, or promotion. It’s a small action, but it can have a powerful effect.

Creating lasting and sustainable value will always be a sound investment strategy. And when it comes to M&A, organizations that prioritize DEI’s efforts and resources will help drive successful business results.

Deb LaMere is the HR manager at Datasite.


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