Data snapshot: PE inches forward on portfolio-level diversity

Female representation in portfolio companies has grown 3% since 2021, says a report from Invest Europe.

Private equity-backed companies have shown a modest improvement in female representation since 2021, according to a report from Invest Europe.

Invest Europe is the trade association of European private equity and venture capital. Its ESG KPI Report compiles data from 1,057 firms covering 66 percent of all capital under management in Europe in 2022. It encompasses 2,216 funds and 6,531 portfolio companies.

When it comes to gender diversity, 38 percent of full-time equivalent employees in PE/VC backed companies were female. This figure is similar regardless of the maturity and location of the company, and represents a 3 percentage point increase compared 2021. At boardroom level, women take 26 percent of seats, an 11 percentage point increase from the previous year.

On the environmental side, a small minority of companies (12 percent) were found to have a net-zero target. More mature companies were most likely (20 percent) to have such a target ahead of growth (12 percent) and venture (6 percent) stage companies. Of those that did set targets, a majority are aiming to hit their target by 2030 at the latest.

The results were generally stronger on governance metrics. Seventy percent of  portfolio companies had an anti-corruption and bribery policy in place at the end of 2022. A similar percentage (71 percent) had cyber security risks initiatives, though this was a five percent fall from the previous year.