Diversity and Inclusion  

Balancing work and maternity leave

She finds the fund management industry one that is difficult to arrange caretaking cover, as “all funds are very different and personal”. 

“People are increasingly becoming co-managers rather than lead and assistant or deputy,” Ms Jackson says. “More and more of them want to take sabbaticals; people want to take time-off to care for their relatives.”

Ms Jackson lives with her husband, and they have opted for a full-time nanny who looks after both the children. She prefers this set-up, despite the similar cost to nursery, as she says the children receive more personalised care. 

When she had her first child, she opted for a nanny-share with one of her neighbours, as she found it significantly cheaper. 

Flexible working 

Despite the apparent challenges, Ms Jackson says fund management is a good career for women, largely due to its flexible nature. 

When she returned from her first maternity leave, Ms Jackson was working only three days a week, with the remaining two days taken from her annual allowance. 

“That is another thing that could become more of a formal thing, so people can come back more gradually,” she says.

Ms Jackson also has the ability to work from home as is necessary, but she stresses balance is key, and adds that working from home may not always be viable.

She says: “If something does need to be done in the team, being a lone ranger is probably not going to work out that well.

“The industry is a great one for women. It is about track record and the strength of the decisions you make, not necessarily the time you spent agonising over them.

“You don’t have to always be at your desk, and a lot of the time you want to be away seeing companies.”

Equalising parental rights

Ms Jackson says industry perceptions suggest that taking care of children is usually a task borne by mothers only. But equalising maternity and paternity rights will help address this.

She adds: “Paternity leave should be exactly the same as maternity. This is how we change recruitment decisions.

“If we have two candidates, one of who can take two weeks paid paternity and the other one who can take six months paid maternity, you have an implicit [incentive] to hire the man.

“If both of them could take six months fully paid parental leave, you kind of neutralise the impact of gender on that hiring decision.”

In 2019, then prime minister Theresa May proposed increasing paternity pay from 2 to 12 weeks. But this was before she stepped down. It remains to be seen how her successor Boris Johnson will tackle this.