Archive for the ‘Women and Leadership’ Category
October is Carl Paladino National Diversity Month, so we decided to go back to the data we collected in our most recent Banking Survey and see if we couldn’t find a few fitting pieces to offer up in honor of these holy 31 days.
First, what we found, unsurprisingly, is a marked lack of women in the banking workplace. Somewhat surprising, though, was that this lack of women increases as you go up the banking org chart. That is, as you’ll see in the graphic below, of those bankers surveyed, 26 percent identified themselves as women. But of those surveyed who hold executive positions, only 11 percent identified themselves as women. The takeaway here is that females are still underrepresented at the top financial firms, and are severely underrepresented in the higher ranks at the top financial firms.
Second we found (again unsurprisingly) that the ethnic group that accounts for most (almost three quarters) of the entire banking industry is none other than the white male. However, interestingly, we found that the white male is far better represented in the banking industry than it is in the general population—almost 10 percent greater as you can see in the graphic below. In addition, Asians, the second largest ethnic group in banking, are also far better represented in the industry than they are in the wider U.S. population—about three times greater, in fact. On the other side of this diversity story, Hispanic individuals and African-Americans are severely underrepresented in the banking industry versus their representation in the wider population.
Third, we found a large lack of openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender individuals in banking. Given that banking is perhaps one of, if not the most politically conservative industries in the United States, this might not come as that much of a surprise, but still, you would think that the lack might not be as significant as the pie chart below indicates: just 1 percent of the more than 2,200 bankers surveyed had identified themselves as an openly GLBT individual. Which begs the question: are GLBT individuals not welcome into the banking industry, not interested in the industry, or both?
–Posted by Derek Loosvelt, In The Black
Is the salary gap between men and women starting to narrow? It certainly appears to be at the higher end of the salary scale: the number of women earning salaries in excess of six figures has jumped 14 percent in the last two years, while the number of men in that category rose just 4 percent over the same period. (Even better news: apparently people got raises over the last two years: who’d a thunk?)
However welcome that news may be, census figures—reported by The Washington Post–suggest that there’s still a long way to go to equalize salaries, especially in light of the fact that women are now more likely to hold an advanced degree than men.
As the Post points out, just “one in 18 women working full time earned $100,000 or more in 2009,” compared to one in seven men. In case you’re wondering, that works out to around “2.4 million working women and 7.9 million men” in the six figure (or better) category.
A couple of other points worth noting about the data:
First, it seems like it wasn’t all that long ago we were reading stories that, for the first time in history, the number of men and women in the workforce was roughly equal. While that had come largely as a result of the fact the recession hit male-dominated industries much harder than female-dominated ones, it turns out that it’s also nowhere near the truth when you factor out part-time employees. As the Post reports “[t]he full-time workforce remains predominantly male, with 56 million men and 42 million women.”
And, second, the most likely place for women to secure a decent salary is in Washington, D.C.—the capital “had the highest median pay among all full-time working women,” while ranking second on the scale for the number of women making six figures or higher. Apparently one in six Washington women currently pull down a minimum of $100,000, second only to San Jose, CA.
For the 11th straight year, industry insiders named Goldman Sachs the most prestigious bank in North America in Vault’s latest ranking. In hindsight then, all the public mudslinging of recent years has done little to upset the bank whether it’s in attracting the biggest deals or the best talent. And according to our survey, bankers continue to want Goldman on their resume.
Ironically, a day after the rankings debuted, the bank’s prestige is under attack by three former female employees who charge, according to The Wall Street Journal, that “The investment bank practices a system in which women are paid less, promoted less and ‘systematically circumvented and excluded.'”
What’s astounding about the allegation is the repeated emphasis on intent, i.e., that the bank has a system that almost formulaically excludes women from getting promoted and compensated on par with their male counterparts. While the bank has called the suit without merit, stating that, “People are critical to our business, and we make extraordinary efforts to recruit, develop and retain outstanding women professionals,” it seems it is yet again in the red with the public.
Comments from our Banking 50 survey—culled from responses submitted by over 1,300 banking professionals earlier this year—provide further perspective:
“Supportive and respectful management”
“They could do a better job of promotion as well as placement into areas that are a good fit and utilize skill sets…”
“Having come up through the ranks, from a junior trader to now an experienced one in fixed income products, I must say that I’ve been very pleased with the level of training, support and guidance that I’ve received over the years from the firm…”
“I’m a firm believer in the culture at Goldman Sachs. The firm is team-focused, emphasizing integrity and personal development within the industry.”
“I think we do a good job at getting women and diversity candidates in the door, but for real success we need to work on better retention.”
“The firm’s commitment to diversity is evident at the most senior levels and is driven down through the firm by way of our seventh business principle: “We offer our people the opportunity to move ahead more rapidly than is possible at most other places. Advancement depends on merit and we have yet to find the limits to the responsibility our best people are able to assume. For us to be successful, our men and women must reflect the diversity of the communities and cultures in which we operate. That means we must attract, retain and motivate people from many backgrounds and perspectives. Being diverse is not optional; it is what we must be.”
So where does this leave the banking king: A chauvinistic boys club, truly diverse with a few unintentional victims, or the victim of a ploy to take advantage of its current poor reputation? Weigh in by leaving a comment, emailing In Good Company or connecting on Twitter @VaultCSR.
More reading: The complete WSJ report.
What other banks made the Top 10 most prestigious banks in North America this year?
In 2007, when the financial industry was at the brink of collapse, one executive at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) saw opportunity. Shannon Schuyler, then a member of PwC’s recruitment team, wrote a white paper for company leadership emphasizing that the firm needed someone to reorganize and refine their community initiatives, and give their corporate responsibility a face.
Three months later the job was hers. How did she re-strategize the firm’s hiring policies and recruitment outreach to encompass PwC’s commitment to corporate responsibility?
- For one, having a background in experienced hiring and on campus recruitment helped. She has seen first-hand the gradual evolution of the hiring landscape, where candidate priorities shifted from the best-paid job offer to work/life balance, and today, to a company’s commitment to responsible corporate citizenship. Her experience assured peers that directives coming from the new Corporate Responsibility Leader would be balanced and realistic.
- Secondly, the message from campuses was loud and clear. According to Schuyler, candidates are increasingly asking what the firm is doing to give back to the community, who they donate to, what they do toward the environment, etc. “They want to know how they can get engaged when they start. They want to know what our strategies are,” she said.
- Finally, she noted, markedly changing business strategies and decision making processes can be a double-edged sword. As her team continues to work on ensuring that new hires are aware and receptive of the company’s commitment from day one, she is also responsible for inculcating a deeper cultural change among current employees. And that is where her real battle lies.
Her observations mirror findings of Vault’s recently concluded Job Hunting in CSR series, where four MBA candidates discussed business school, their career transitions and job hunting, all connected with a commitment to CSR and change management.
For now, Schuyler is focusing on the “life cycle of a student.” Her team is busy redefining the firm’s hiring strategy by shifting their focus from best practices to candidates’ personal journey. “Increasingly, we ask, what are the opportunities? What could we continue to build on as a continuum? Would that really change what their education experience is, and ultimately, their success? It’s not just how you do the equations, but how you’re taking that and making it part of their life.”
–Posted by Aman Singh, Vault’s CSR Editor
Last week, the Project for Attorney Retention (PAR) and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) released a report regarding the gender gap in compensation among law firm partners, “New Millennium, Same Glass Ceiling?“. The study has generated some buzz, both within and beyond the legal community (e.g., The Careerist: “Show Me the Money—Not Work/Life Balance,” and Newsweek: “Even Female Law Partners Suffer Wage Disparities“), though it seems that at least some of the surprised reactions are triggered less by findings that systemic problems in law firm compensation practices “open the door to gender bias” than by the discovery that women are really angry about it.
PAR and MCCA surveyed nearly 700 women partners who voiced “intense dissatisfaction” with disparities in pay and power. Because women, and especially minority women, are underrepresented at the upper levels of the law firm hierarchy,* they have limited means to address these issues. As noted by Veta Richardson, MCCA’s executive director and co-author of the report: “With few women on compensation committees and in top management positions, women law firm partners’ ability to influence compensation decisions and address salary differentials is limited.”
While some of the problems discussed are structural (e.g., questions as to whether the right factors are used to determine compensation), others are behavioral. According to the report, “Roughly one-third of the women surveyed reported having been bullied, threatened or intimidated out of origination credit, a key factor in setting compensation.” Moreover, a majority of the minority partners surveyed said “that they had participated in client pitches that yielded work for their firms—but that they were excluded when the time came to do the work.”
The study’s findings undercut the common arguments that women are paid less because they work less, generate less business or focus more on family. Fortunately, the report also outlines a series of best practices to help firms establish fairer compensation systems—systems that, the authors conclude, will better serve the long-term interests of law firms in the 21st century—including ways to improve transparency, redesign origination credit and introduce “checks on bias and in-group favoritism.”
MCCA, PAR and the ABA Commission on Women are also compiling a companion report titled “Sustaining Pathways to Diversity—A Survey of Women Partners on Law Firm Compensation and Recommended Approaches for a More Equitable Playing Field,” which is expected to be released later this summer.
— Posted by Vera Djordjevich, Vault’s Law Blog
Follow Vault’s Law team on Twitter: @vaultlaw
*According to data collected by Vault and MCCA in our annual Law Firm Diversity Survey, more than three-quarters of law firm equity partners are white men. Women represent less than 16 percent of the attorneys on firms’ executive committees; and, if you count only minority women, that number drops to less than 2 percent. (These numbers are based on last year’s diversity survey results; this year’s results will be released in a few weeks.)