Finance’s Diversity Problem Got Worse After the Financial Crisis

Finance’s Diversity Problem Got Worse After the Financial Crisis

The finance industry has long been under scrutiny when it comes to how it treats minorities in the industry, especially in terms of the hiring and promotion of minorities, especially African Americans. However, recent reports that black representation in the Chicago finance industry had fallen more than 20% in six years has drawn new attention to this serious problem.

The really unfortunate thing about all of this is that the issue really isn’t showing any signs of getting better. In fact, The Financial Services Pipeline Initiative recently released research showing that, by all accounts, the problem will likely get worse in the future.

And while it’s the recent findings from Chicago that have drawn increased attention to this issue, Chicago isn’t the only guilty city. However, it is one that has many commodities markets and thus many more opportunities to hire and promote financial workers, making the discrepancy between how minority workers and non-minority workers are treated all the more obvious.

The Financial Services Pipeline Initiative touched on this issue in its highly in-depth report. It also made clear the fact that the financial industry is guilty of hiring minorities predominantly for lower-level positions and then not promoting them. This means that minorities “fortunate” enough to be hired in the first place by this discriminatory industry were more prone to layoffs, attrition, and other unfortunate treatment.

As mentioned, while all minorities and their treatment were examined and observed during the research process, African Americans were found to fare worse than other minorities. In fact, the number of Hispanic persons working in the industry increased over the years studied, though members of the Hispanic population still tended to be hired for lower-level positions and less likely to be promoted than their non-minority counterparts.

The recession that the nation went through during the years examined only made matters worse. Because so many minorities had been hired to low-level positions, they were the ones who were most likely to be let go when the recession hit, and, as a result, far more minorities ended up losing their jobs during this troubled period than did non-minorities.

As if that information wasn’t disturbing enough, the report also pointed out several other unfair trends. It found, for example, that among the few minorities who did get promoted, they were much less likely to stay in their higher-level positions than non-minorities. They also expressed more concern and disbelief over their respective companies’ commitment to diversity

The report does more than just bear bad news, though. It also provides several helpful recommendations that, if put into practice, could really change the way things are done for the better. Some of the recommendations put forth in the report included:

  • Hiring from within for higher level positions
  • Offering more support to minority workers
  • Increasing hiring overall

The organization is hopeful but realistic. It understands that the only way for change to truly happen is for financial industry executives and employers to actually heed this advice. That, the organization explains, is the only way to put an end to this injustice.