April 7, 2022

Diversity: Number of Women in M&A on the Rise

According to a recent survey conducted by DataSite, the future of M&A is female. In light of the data suggesting that female-led transactions outperform those led by males, that’s probably a good thing.  Here’s an excerpt from the press release announcing the survey’s results:

In a survey of 600 global dealmakers – 55% of whom were women, and 45% of whom were male – there were more female Millennial dealmakers (born between 1981-1996) than males and the percentage of female dealmakers from the next generation, Generation Z, (born between 1997-2012) is double that of their male counterparts. Yet, male dealmakers dominate both Generation X (born 1965-1980) and Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964), and today hold many of the senior roles in the M&A space, such as senior manager, or group head (56% male, 36% female). The opposite is true among middle and entry level dealmaking roles, such as manager, non-manager, or associate, with women accounting for 65% compared to 44% for men.

The survey also addressed workplace culture, both positive and negative.  One of the disappointing findings in the survey is that female dealmakers felt less appreciated and supported than their male counterparts and double the number of women compared to men (6% v. 3%) felt burned out. On the positive side, despite the crushing pace of dealmaking and stretched resources last year, 70% of women and 74% of men don’t plan to leave their current job anytime soon. The survey suggests that “manager help, including checking in on workloads and overall well-being” may have contributed to this result.

One of the things that struck me about the results of the survey was that many of the boorish behaviors that women have disproportionately experienced in other professional settings appear to have been shared by female and male M&A lawyers on a relatively more equitable basis. For example, while female M&A lawyers report that they are more likely to be interrupted while speaking than male M&A lawyers (21% v. 13%) and having others take credit for their ideas (15% v. 12%), more males than females reported having their ideas ignored (14% v. 13%), overhearing insults about their culture (14% v. 9%), and having their judgment questioned (13% v. 12%).

The overall findings on boorishness support my longstanding belief that senior M&A lawyers are generally more misanthropic than they are misogynistic – and as someone who was once marked down on a performance evaluation for “general unpleasantness,” I think I know what I’m talking about here.

John Jenkins