This blog was originally written by Ethical Compass, an independent engagement agency working exclusively with corporate pension schemes, with advice from Head of Impact Investment at Acre, Ian Povey-Hall.
Impact investment is the fastest growing sector of the financial industry. In a 2019 deal that signalled the scale and potential of the sector’s future, the British asset manager, Schroders (with over $400 billion of assets under management) acquired a majority stake in BlueOrchard. Schroders’ CEO, Peter Harrison, commented that impact investment is a “mega-trend”.
The time will come when impact investing is the norm. Considering this is the future, many people are seeking out roles in the sector. Continuing our series of articles about impact investment, we offer a few tips for getting a job in collaboration with Ian Povey-Hall, Consultant at Acre, who specialises in recruiting professionals in impact investment, ESG, and sustainability. Ian’s tips are as follows:
Know your specialist skills - although it’s tempting to see job hunting through your own eyes, it’s important that you consider what employers may be looking for in candidates. As a result, consider what specialist skills you have and how these may be useful for your next employer. What can you offer to your next firm that they don’t already have?
In the impact investment space, we are seeing the worlds of traditional investment converge with broader industry sectors, such as sustainability, climate science, and policy. Asset owners and asset managers will be looking for candidates that can bring unique skills to an organisation to give them the competitive edge in the marketplace. This could be educational qualifications or experience in impact or mission-driven businesses.
Knowledge of the investment market - if you are looking to get into the impact investment space and have not previously worked in the financial services sector, a vital point to consider is to gain a thorough understanding of the investment market and how it works. Whilst you may be interviewing for a role that is not investment-based or client-facing, your potential employer will still want you to understand the nuances of the industry.
Clarity of desired workplace - knowing what type of job you want is, of course, very important. What is also imperative, however, is where you want that job. As with any industry, impact investment has a diverse array of workplaces and they vary significantly by size, scope, and intention.
There are the large, multi-national established investment houses that are busily building their impact practices running alongside the smaller, boutique firms that focus on impact investment and that alone. By having clarity over what environment best suits your skillset and experience will enable you to make the correct long-term decision.
Purpose and values alignment - the last tip is straightforward: find a company that matches what you stand for and what you believe in. By truly understanding your purpose in life and what values remain important to you will guide you in your job search. Organisations that align to your way of thinking are likely to have working environments, fellow colleagues, and management teams that will be complimentary to your view of the world. Seek them out as this workplace harmony will pay dividends in the short, medium, and long term.
There you have it: four quick tips for seeking a role in the impact investment sector. If you want to learn more about impact investing, then the following sources are a good place to start to grow your knowledge and exposure: The Impact Investing Institute (https://www.impactinvest.org.uk), and the Global Impact Investing Network (https://thegiin.org) both offer abundant resources.