(Bloomberg) -- Women accounted for almost half of ESG-related hedge fund jobs in the last two years, far exceeding the industry’s overall female hiring rate.

Globally, 49.6% of ESG hires were women in 2020 and 2021, according to a study issued Wednesday by HFObserver, an online data platform that tracks employment in the alternative asset management industry. By contrast, women made up only about 29% of overall hires in the sector.

Female representation among ESG hires was highest in Asia, at 67%, according to the study, followed by the U.S. and Europe/U.K. at 50% and 45%, respectively. 

Black people were also better represented in ESG roles at hedge funds compared with overall rates. In the U.S., they made up 7.9% of ESG hires, versus 2.7% of hedge fund hires overall. Still, both rates lag the group’s share of the U.S. working-age population, which stands at 13%, according to the study, which tracked more than 10,000 personnel moves. 

Asset managers are ramping up their ESG offerings in response to demand from investors who want their portfolios to align with their personal beliefs. Hedge funds’ focus on ESG is relatively new and larger funds have been among the first to embrace the strategy, according to the study. 

Positions that focused on ESG were still only a small percentage of overall hedge fund hiring in 2020 and 2021, accounting for 3% to 4% globally.

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