How Diverse is Wall Street . . . Really?
Diversity has been a hot topic in the national news media during recent years, especially as related to employment and talent management. High-profile organizations like Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have all released their diversity numbers.
However, what about Wall Street?
That’s certainly a fair question, one that was answered—at least to some degree—by Vault.com’s recent Banking Survey of 3,000 investment banking professionals. In the survey, Vault asked these professionals to rank their firms on a scale of one to 10 (with 10 being the highest) when it came to hiring, promoting, and mentoring in various categories of diversity.
The results of this year’s survey were very interesting, especially when looking back over results from the past five years. The big reason? Diversity, at least in the eyes of the banking professionals involved in this survey, has actually taken a step backward.
Consider these numbers, which represent the overall grade assigned to each category, as well as the percentage decline from the previous year:
- Women: 8.03 (-1.3%)
- Racial/Ethnic Minorities: 7.93 (-2.8%)
- Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, etc.: 8.02 (-0.6%)
- Individuals with Disabilities: 7.65 (-1.5%)
- Military Veterans: 8.31 (-0.5%)
According to Vault.com’s data, only once in the previous five years did the score in one of these categories regress. That was in 2012, when the ranking for “Women” was 7.83, a 0.3% decrease from the previous year. (It should be noted that Vault.com only started tracking the “Disabilities” category in 2012 and the “Veterans” category in 2013.)
So the question becomes this one: how diverse is Wall Street . . . really?
There are a couple of different ways to view the results of this survey. First, they can be viewed strictly from an empirical point of view, based upon the raw data. Viewed in that context, the answer would seem to be that after years of becoming more diverse, Wall Street started becoming less diverse this year.
Another way to look at the results of this survey is to keep in mind that it contains a largely subjective element. That’s because the participants of the survey were asked to rank their firms on a scale of one to 10. This ranking is a subjective one, since it’s predicated upon the opinion of the banking professionals taking the survey.
And perhaps opinion is the best way to answer the question of whether Wall Street is becoming more diverse or less diverse. At the very least, the popular opinion is that it has been increasingly diverse—up until this year, at least. That opinion is based largely on perception, and as we all know, perception, when it becomes the prevailing opinion, also becomes the de facto reality.
So has Wall Street become less diverse in the past year because that’s the perception and the popular opinion? Or has it become less diverse because it has in reality become less diverse?
And more importantly, how does this data and these questions affect your view of the job market and the goals you have for career advancement?
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Do you want a career on Wall Street? Would you like some help in landing a coveted position on Wall Street? If so, contact a Career Counselor with Lexacount Search’s Career Consulting Services. Or, if you are interested in learning more about open finance and accounting industry opportunities, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Finance Group. Or, if you are a lawyer or legal assistant, learn more about open legal industry opportunities with a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Legal Group.